|For Immediate Release
Case # 04CF3689
January 15, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
CONVICTED MAN FOUND IN RE-TRIAL TO BE SANE WHEN HE SHOT AND MURDERED BROTHER’S GIRLFRIEND AND HER 15-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER
SANTA ANA – A jury found today that a Santa Ana man was sane and criminally responsible for shooting and murdering his brother’s live-in girlfriend and her 15-year-old daughter. Peter Nong Le, 64, was found guilty on Feb. 11, 2008, of two felony counts of murder and sentencing enhancement allegations for committing multiple murders and the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. Le faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole at his sentencing on Feb. 17, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Victims Tuyet Le, 46, and her 15-year-old daughter, Jennifer Cu, were living in Santa Ana with Tuyet Le’s boyfriend and his elderly parents. Defendant Le is the brother of Tuyet Le’s boyfriend. The defendant moved into the Santa Ana home with his parents, brother, and the victims 1-month prior to the murder. He became increasingly angry with Tuyet Le because he believed she was disrespecting him and his parents by calling him messy and unemployed.
On Dec. 14, 2004, Le used a rifle and a handgun and went into the backyard, where Tuyet Le was working in the garden, and murdered her by shooting her once in the chest. He then returned to the kitchen and murdered Jennifer by shooting her multiple times in the head and chest.
After shooting the two victims, Le tied his father’s legs to prevent him from running out of the house. He gathered ammunition and multiple guns to prepare himself for a shoot-out with the police, but his father was able to convince him not to shoot at any officers. Le then called the Santa Ana Police Department and told them he had committed a crime and that he wanted to surrender to the police.
The trial was held in two parts, the guilt phase and the sanity phase. In the guilt phase, jurors hear evidence about the defendant and the crime. If the defendant is convicted and pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity,” the trial moves to the sanity phase. During this phase, the jury considers evidence to determine if the defendant was legally sane at the time of the crime. When a defendant pleads “not guilty by reason of insanity,” the burden is on the defense to prove that the defendant was more likely than not legally insane when he committed the crime. To be considered legally insane, the defense must prove that the defendant had a mental disease or defect when he committed the crime, and also that this defect kept the defendant from understanding the nature of his act or from understanding that his act was morally or legally wrong.
This was a re-trial of the sanity phase. In February 2008, a jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision regarding Le’s case, deadlocking 11 to one supporting a sanity verdict.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.