SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — A majority of San Franciscans want prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Binh Thai Luc, a Vietnam native accused of murdering five people inside a home in the city’s Ingleside neighborhood near City College, according to a KPIX-TV CBS 5 poll released Wednesday night.
While District Attorney George Gascon has said he is “unlikely” to seek the death penalty in the case, the CBS 5 poll found 56 percent of San Francisco residents surveyed believed that he should pursue the death penalty against the 35-year-old Luc. Only 33 percent didn’t want to see the death penalty sought; 11 percent were unsure.
Luc is charged with five counts of murder with special circumstances of committing multiple murders, robbery and burglary, plus lying in wait, according to court documents. The documents listed additional special allegations against Luc for previously being convicted of felonies. The special circumstances make Luc eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
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He was arrested Sunday after five bodies were found Friday inside a home at 16 Howth Street — a crime scene so gruesome and complex that authorities took days to identify the victims and a suspect. Police and prosecutors have said that a “blunt instrument” was used in the killings, but have not discussed a motive.
State records indicate Luc was convicted of second-degree robbery and assault with a firearm stemming from the 1996 armed robberies in San Jose of a Chinese restaurant and a clothing retailer.
After serving his prison sentence from 1998 to 2006, an immigration judge ordered Luc deported to Vietnam, but that never happened because the Vietnamese government didn’t provide the documents needed to remove him, federal officials said.
The CBS 5 poll of 481 San Francisco adults was conducted Wednesday by the firm SurveyUSA; the poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percent.
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