Phuc Le, 44, a Vietnamese immigrant, was acquitted by a jury this week on the charge of murder in the first degree. A hardwood floor installer, Le, allegedly acted in self-defense against a violent attack from Tuan Nguyen, 36.
Drunken Visitors Attack with Broken Beer Bottles
On February 6, 2010, Nguyen and two other men appeared in an inebriated state at Le’s apartment door and allegedly argued and demanded money. The altercation became violent when Long Vu, 32, hurled a pair of Vietnamese rosary beads at a small temple that was set up in the house by Le’s late mother.
At this point, Le requested the men to leave his apartment. Allegedly Vu threatened Le with glass shards of beverage bottles. This prompted Le to protect himself with a knife from the kitchen. In the subsequent fight, Nguyen was accidentally injured in the chest by Le. According to his defense attorney, Le called 911 and tried to revive Vu.
Le directed the police officers to his flat in Ellis Street where they found the dead body of Nguyen with a single stab wound to the chest. Le, a resident of San Francisco, was charged with first degree murder in spite of not having any prior criminal charges.
Overcharging by the Prosecution – Adachi
Manohar Raju, Deputy Public Defender, said that this was an unfortunate accident where a man had to protect himself from intoxicated individuals who were threatening him with glass shards. Raju said that he was grateful to the jury who acquitted Le on the basis of self-defense. Jeff Adachi, public defender, said that the case is a prime example of overcharging by the prosecution. According to Adachi, an individual who was threatened with dangerous weapons inside his apartment should not be charged with murder in the first degree.