A shackled 35-year-old plumber’s apprentice shook his head continually Thursday as a judge read the laundry list of horrific charges against him in connection with the slaughtering of five people in an Ingleside home last month.
Bin Thai Luc pleaded not guilty to the March 23 killing rampage at 16 Howth St., near City College of San Francisco.
Luc, who prosecutors say knew the victims, is accused of first slaying four people in the home, then lying in wait for the fifth victim, 32-year-old Vincent Lei. Authorities have said both a blunt instrument and sharp-edged object were used in the killings, and that water, paint and bleach were used in an attempt to cover up the crime.
The other victims, prosecutors said, included Lei’s parents, Hua Shun Lei, 65, and Wan Yi Xu, 62; his sister, Ying Xue Lei, 37; and his girlfriend, Chia Huei Chu, 30.
Bail was set Thursday at a whopping $25 million. Luc’s attorney, Mark Goldrosen, did not contest the amount, saying even if his client could post bail, he would remain in custody under a deportation hold. Luc is from Vietnam.
After several discussions with his client, Goldrosen described Luc as “articulate” and said he had been doing “very well” in his plumbing job in San Mateo County.
Luc was well into a five-year apprenticeship program with Local 467, said Chris Collins, a business agent for the union.
“We’ve never had complaints about the guy,” Collins said. “The people who worked with him are totally shocked from what I understand.
Collins, who said he had only spoken with the apprentice a few times, described Luc as a “quiet guy” who “never ever came in frustrated or upset or anything.”
Colleagues are “curious to see how this turns out,” Collins added.
Luc is scheduled to appear in court again May 3.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi attended Tuesday’s hearing. He is appealing a judge’s decision last week to take his office off the case and assign it to Goldrosen, a private attorney.
Prosecutors had successfully argued that there was a conflict of interest because the Public Defender’s Office had recently represented Luc’s brother in a DUI and firearms case.