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Felon will be charged with killing five in San Francisco home: prosecutors

By Emmett Berg

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A convicted felon who U.S. authorities sought unsuccessfully to deport to Vietnam in 2006 will be charged with the murders of five people found slain at a home in a quiet San Francisco neighborhood, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Binh Thai Luc, who was arrested on Sunday in connection with the murders in the city's Ingleside neighborhood, will be charged with five counts of murder with special circumstances, a spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney said.

He will be arraigned on the charges on Wednesday, the spokesman added.

Luc, 35, was convicted in 1998 for an armed robbery in Santa Clara County, for which he served eight years in San Quentin State Prison, prosecutors say.

Following Luc's release from prison in August 2006, an immigration judge ordered his deportation to Vietnam, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.

But Vietnamese authorities "declined to provide the appropriate travel documents," and Luc was released from federal custody that December, Kice said.

Authorities abandoned deportation efforts, according to Kice, because the federal government is bound by a Supreme Court ruling that allows immigrants to be detained pending deportation only when they can be deported within a reasonable time frame.

Upon his release from federal custody, Luc served two years of parole under the supervision of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper reported that the five who were slain appeared to have been singled out rather than the victims of a random killer. The newspaper said efforts to identify the victims and determine how they died was made more difficult by the gruesome nature of the crime scene.

Those who were killed in the March 23 slaying were identified on Monday by the San Francisco medical examiner as Hua Shun Lei, a 65-year-old man; Wan Yi Xu, a 62-year-old woman; Chia Huei Chu, a 30-year-old woman; Vincent Lei, a 32-year-old man; and Ying Xue Lei, a 37-year-old woman.

All of the victims were San Francisco residents.

(Reporting by Emmett Berg; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Cynthia Johnston)

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