Lawyer to be appointed for teenage murder suspect

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A lawyer will be appointed to defend an 18-year-old youth who has confessed to the gruesome murder of a couple and their daughter in the northern province of Bac Giang last month, local police said Sunday.

Colonel Pham Van Minh, director of Bac Giang Province Police Department, the Tuoi Tre newspaper that the family of Le Van Luyen had not hired a lawyer, therefore investigators will appoint a lawyer for him this week.

Luyen insisted he committed the murder and robbery alone, Minh said.

Colonel Nguyen Van Du, deputy chief of the Bac Giang Province PD, told Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper that police are still investigating whether Luyen had accomplices or not.

According to Luyen's testimony, at around 2 a.m. on August 24, he climbed on a tree in front of the Ngoc Bich Gold Shop (where the family that owned and operated the shop also lived) and used a double-edged sword to pry open the third floor door.

After entering the three-storey house, he searched all floors with a flashlight and saw the family sleeping on the second floor.

He then went down to the first floor and cut all electricity running to the house.

He went up to the third floor and hid in the dark, waiting for his chance to rob the family.


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Thieves kill three at Bac Giang gold shop

At around 5:30 a.m., Trinh Thanh Ngoc, the husband, began hanging laundry to dry on the third floor. Luyen jumped out of the bathroom and stabbed Ngoc with a knife.

After Ngoc shouted for help, Dinh Thi Chin, his wife, rushed to the third floor. Luyen then stabbed Chin in the stomach with the knife.

Ngoc managed to seize the knife from Luyen, but was too injured to any more.

Meanwhile, Luyen pushed Chin onto the ground and cut her neck with the sword.

Luyen then repeatedly stabbed Ngoc with the sword until he could not move.

The killer ran down to the second floor and saw Trinh Thi Bich, the nine-year-old daughter, calling someone with a phone on her hand.

In one slash of the sword, Luyen cut Bich's hand off. He also slashed her arm and head. Bich did not say anything and Luyen thought she was dead and began preparing to leave.

Bich's severed right hand was later rejoined in surgery. 

After leaving Bich for dead, Luyen saw Trinh Thi Thao, the family's 18-month-old child, crying in the bedroom. He told her to stop but the baby girl kept crying. He then slit the baby's throat and washed the bloody knives and blood stains on the floor.

He went down to the first floor to collect all the gold in the shop, estimated at 1,875 grams in total, (worth US$96,000).

He later phoned his cousin, Truong Thanh Hong, to come pick him up.

After Luyen got home, he bathed and hid the gold in his closet. Hong drove him to the Thanh Lam Commune Medical Center to get some stitches in his hands.

Luyen said he was slightly wounded during the struggle with Ngoc.

He took a bus to Lang Son Province, and later stayed in his aunt's house before heading for China. On August 28, he traveled to China with the help of his aunt's husband, Le Van Nghi.

On August 31, Luyen was arrested at Na Hinh, a border village in Lang Son, as he was returning to Vietnam from China.

Previously, the police had asked Nghi to talk Luyen into going back home from China.

Luyen's parents Le Van Mien, 42, and Truong Thi Thom, 38 are being detained for covering up their son's crime.

Truong Thanh Hong, Luyen's 19-year-old cousin, and Truong Van Hop, Hong's father, have also been detained for helping Luyen escape.

Police said charges will soon be pressed against the four.

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