The lawyer says 35-year-old Binh Thai Luc is engaging and articulate, and also overwhelmed by the charges. Luc was in court Thursday to enter a plea. Defense attorney Mark Goldrosen says his client is a union plumber in San Mateo. However, he will not be doing any work in the near future. A judge set bail at $25 million Thursday.
Asked how he would plead, "Not guilty," he told the court. Those words were uttered five times by the man accused of killing five people in a bloody carnage in the middle of the night two weeks ago. Luc is accused of killing Hua Shun Lei, a cook at a Chinatown restaurant called the R&G Lounge, his wife Wan Yi Wu, their daughter Ying Xue Lei, their son Vincent Lei, and his girlfriend Chia Heui Chu. Police say Luc bludgeoned his victims to death, hacking some of them with a sharp-edged weapon.
While the judge read the charges, Luc seemed uncomfortable as he stood by his attorney. At times, he shook his head and took deep breaths. Asked why, his lawyers explained, "Well, it's very different to stand up there and have all these charges read to you, and it's a difficult situation for him to be in."
Luc was caught two days after the murders by SWAT team members who raided a townhouse on Hayes Street. ABC7 learned that one of the things that led police to Luc was that his number was on the cell phone of one of the victims. Goldrosen says he has met with Luc several times, for hours and has established a good rapport with him. He described his client saying, "He's interested, articulate, engaging..."
This is a special circumstances case. The district attorney's office says it is still considering whether or not to ask for the death penalty. Luc's attorney Goldrosen is a private lawyer assigned by the judge in this case, but public defender Jeff Adachi says he wants his office to represent Luc.