SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A man whose brother is accused of killing five people in San Francisco’s Ingleside neighborhood last month pleaded not guilty to unrelated drug and weapons charges Tuesday and was ordered held without bail.
Brian Luc, 32, was arrested on March 25, the same day that police arrested his brother, Binh Thai Luc, on suspicion of murdering three women and two men at 16 Howth St. near City College of San Francisco on March 23.
When police came to the home where Brian Luc lived with his brother, they found 29 grams of cocaine and some rounds of ammunition, Assistant District Attorney Lailah Morris said Tuesday.
Brian Luc was arrested at the home. Police have said Binh Luc was arrested at another location.
Binh Luc, 35, made his initial appearance in court last week and is expected to be arraigned Thursday. He is also being held without bail.
The elder brother is charged with five counts of murder, as well as special circumstances alleging multiple murders, committing murder in the commission of robbery and burglary, using a blunt instrument to kill the victims, and lying in wait before killing one of the victims, Vincent Lei, 32.
The medical examiner’s office has identified the other male victim as 65-year-old Hua Shun Lei. The women were identified as Wan Yi Xu, 62; Chia Huei Chu, 30; and Ying Xue Lei, 37.
Brian Luc’s defense attorney, Brendan Conroy, argued today that with both brothers in jail, there is no primary caretaker for their parents, including for their father, who suffers from a long-term heart condition.
Conroy said Brian Luc also has a 12-year-old daughter who was at the home at the time of his arrest.
“The family’s going through a lot of turmoil right now,” he said.
Conroy asked for a bail amount to be set, but Morris argued that he posed a safety risk after having been convicted in August 2011 of DUI and discharging a firearm.
“He was just put on probation and now has a substantial amount of cocaine,” she said.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng sided with the prosecutor, keeping Brian Luc on no-bail status because his probation was revoked after his latest arrest.
Brian Luc will return to court on April 16 for a preliminary hearing in his case, and prosecutors have indicated that they intend to use him as a witness in his brother’s murder case.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office is appealing a judge’s ruling last week that it could not represent Binh Luc because it had represented Brian Luc in his case last year.
A petition for a writ to allow the office to represent Binh Luc was filed with San Francisco Superior Court Judge Newton Lam on Monday, public defender’s office spokeswoman Tamara Barak Aparton said Tuesday.
If the judge denies the petition, the public defender’s office will go to the state Court of Appeal, Barak Aparton said.
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