A potential conflict of interest with the Public Defender’s Office delayed until today the arraignment of the man suspected of murdering five people at an Ingleside home last week.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi appeared in Superior Court to justify his office’s ability to represent Binh Thai Luc in court, but prosecutors said that since Adachi’s office represented Luc’s brother, Brian Luc, in a DUI case in September, it creates a conflict.
“They formerly or currently represented an important witness in this case,” prosecutors said.
Binh Thai Luc was arrested Sunday. He is accused of killing Hua Shun Lei, 65; Vincent Lei, 32; Wan Yi Xu, 62; Chia Huei Chu, 30; and Ying Xue Lei, 37, early Friday morning.
Brian Luc is still on probation. He was arrested Sunday on charges unrelated to the murders, but that include possession of narcotics, being a felon in possession of ammunition and a probation violation.
Adachi said because Brian Luc’s case is closed and the client is on probation, he is not currently represented by Adachi’s office. The Public Defender’s Office also declined to represent Brian Luc in his current case, but remains committed to providing Binh Thai Luc with representation.
“I have the responsibility of providing legal representation in any case where a person cannot afford council,” Adachi said outside the courtroom. “We appeared today on behalf of Mr. [Binh Thai] Luc. We have met with him, and as public defendant he would like us to represent him.”
Binh Thai Luc told a judge Wednesday that he would like the Public Defender’s Office to represent him.
“The public defender will serve my best interests,” he said. Adachi “has spent many hours with me and to get to know my family.”
Adachi declined to comment further on the case or the charges Binh Thai Luc faces until he is appointed to represent him.
Meanwhile, the District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint alleging the murders occurred during a robbery. Prosecutors charged Binh Thai Luc on Tuesday with five counts of murder with special circumstances because there were multiple victims. Special circumstances would make him eligible for the death penalty, but the DA is not likely to pursue such a conviction.
Binh Thai Luc remains in custody without bail. He is expected to be arraigned today.
Bay City News contributed to this report.