A court in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on Thursday sentenced a homeless man to death for killing four people, three during robberies, over a four-month period.
Tran Van Diem, 27, was convicted of killing four people in Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong City, Quang Ngai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces between August and December last year.
The court handed down the death sentence after finding him guilty of murder. Diem was also sentenced to six years in prison for robbery.
Showing no signs of remorse during the trial, Diem said he was motivated to carry out the murders because he imagined he was a hero killing villains in video games.
Diem was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City by police officers of the neighboring province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on December 20, 2014, six days after he killed Nguyen Hoang Ngan, a vegan food shop owner in Vung Tau Town.
Diem, who worked as a street masseur, on December 14 fatally stabbed Ngan at his house and took his motorbike and two mobile phones, police said at the time.
After being arrested, Diem told police he had also murdered three other men in separate incidents.
Following investigations, the police established Diem had killed Tran Minh Phuoc at a roundabout in HCMC on August 10, 2014.
Phuoc, a 24-year-old scrap collector, was helping an unidentified donor distribute free meals to the needy. Diem stabbed Phuoc to death after a quarrel as the latter refused to give him three more portions.
Diem then fled to the north and headed to the central province of Quang Ngai. On August 24, he stabbed Le Minh Hiep, 32, to death to rob Hiep’s motorbike and VND500,000 (US$22). He then moved to Gia Lai Province in the Central Highlands, where he sold Hiep's motorbike for VND15 million.
He later took a bus to the northern city of Hai Phong, where he fatally stabbed Pham Van Can, 67, and robbed his motorbike and mobile phone on September 14, according to police.
After selling the stolen goods, he headed to HCMC and then Ba Ria-Vung Tau where he killed Ngan, the vegan shop owner, before being arrested.