|For Immediate Release
Case # 04CF3689 January 28, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR SHOOTING
AND MURDERING BROTHER’S GIRLFRIEND
AND HER 15-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER
SANTA ANA – A Santa Ana man faces trial tomorrow for 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, is charged with two counts of murder and faces sentencing enhancement allegations for committing multiple murders and the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. He faces a maximum of life without the possibility of parole if convicted. Opening statements are scheduled to begin tomorrow, Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 1:30 p.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 is accused of moving into the Santa Ana home with his parents, brother, and the victims one month prior to the murder. He is accused of becoming 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 is accused of using a rifle and a handgun and murdering Jennifer in the kitchen by shooting her multiple times in the head and chest. He is accused of going into the backyard where Tuyet Le was working in the garden and murdering her by shooting her once in the chest.
After shooting the two victims, Le is accused of tying his father’s legs to prevent him from running out of the house. He is accused of gathering 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 is accused of then calling the Santa Ana Police Department and telling them he had committed a crime and that he wanted to surrender to the police.
As the defendant entered pleas of “not guilty” and “not guilty by reason of insanity,” the trial will be held in two phases. The first phase is the guilt phase, which functions like a standard jury trial in which jurors hears evidence about the crime and the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed murder. If convicted, the case goes to the second phase, the sanity phase, in which a 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.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.