|For Immediate Release
Case # 04CF3689 February 11, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
MAN CONVICTED OF SHOOTING AND MURDERING BROTHER’S GIRLFRIEND AND HER
SANTA ANA – A Santa Ana man was convicted today of shooting and murdering his brother’s live-in girlfriend and her 15-year-old daughter because he felt she had disrespected him and his family. Peter Nong Le, 63, was found guilty of two counts of murder, and the sentencing enhancement allegations for committing multiple murders and the personal discharge of a firearm causing death were found true. As the defendant entered pleas of “not guilty” and “not guilty by reason of insanity,” the trial will now move into a second phase, the sanity phase. The sanity phase began this afternoon in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. Le faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole if the jury finds he was legally sane at the time of the murder.
The sanity phase is held after a defendant is convicted and only if the defendant pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity.” 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.
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 December 14, 2004, Le used a rifle and a handgun and murdered Jennifer in the kitchen by shooting her multiple times in the head and chest. He went into the backyard where Tuyet Le was working in the garden and murdered her by shooting her once in the 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.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.