Man indicted on first-degree murder charges for alleged killing of Mendota Heights businesswoman

Lucifer Vincent Nguyen

Lucifer Vincent Nguyen, 44, of New Hope, was indicted for murder Oct. 20 for the alleged killing of a businesswoman in Mendota Heights July 29 following a crime spree.

A Dakota County grand jury indicted Nguyen on one count of first-degree premeditated murder, one count of first-degree murder while committing aggravated robbery, and two counts of second-degree murder.

Both first-degree charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the maximum penalty for the second-degree charges is 40 years,

Other charges against Nguyen include first-degree burglary, aggravated robbery, second-degree assault and kidnapping. His bail was set at $1.5 million.

Nguyen, who was arrested July 31, was on the run after a series of alleged crimes July 29 in Mendota Heights that resulted in the shooting death of 48-year-old Beverly Cory, of Maplewood, who was a financial adviser at an Edward Jones office. He was captured in Blaine after his brother helped law enforcement locate him.

According to court documents, on July 29, at approximately 9 a.m., officers from the Mendota Heights Police Department were dispatched to a residence on a report of a home invasion by a man armed with a handgun.

While responding to the report, two officers in a marked squad car spotted the suspect's vehicle driving away and attempted to stop it -- the driver pulled over, stopping for only a short time before driving away quickly and turning onto Plaza Drive.

Not long after, the driver crashed and landed in a pond. When officers arrived, there was no one in the vehicle; however, items inside the car tied it to Nguyen.

According to court documents, while at the scene of the crash, a witness pointed in the direction Nguyen ran and around 9:07 a.m., officers were dispatched to the White Pines Senior Living facility on a report that a man, armed with a pistol, forced his way inside.

In a July 31 interview, Mendota Heights Police Chief Kelly McCarthy said it was at this point the department requested assistance. SWAT teams from Dakota and Washington counties responded, as did aid from several nearby agencies including the State Patrol, St. Paul and other Dakota County police departments.

As senior living facility residents were being evacuated, police received a report of suspicious activity at a suite in a nearby office building, located at 750 Plaza Drive, across the street from White Pines. Police entered the building, where they found a deceased woman who was later identified as Cory. An autopsy determined she died from a gunshot wound to the head.

While investigating the scene at the office building, officers determined Cory's vehicle was missing from the building's parking lot. It was found later on July 30 at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Lake Elmo.

A man who lives near the fairgrounds told police a man matching Nguyen's description approached him at his residence the day prior around 11 a.m., asking for a ride to a nearby casino. The man said he declined.

A nationwide warrant was issued for Nguyen. He was arrested a day later while riding in a car with his brother in Blaine.

According to court records, Nguyen has convictions for theft and driving while intoxicated in Minnesota. He has a felony battery warrant out of Wisconsin and he pleaded no contest this year to a hit-and-run accident involving an unattended vehicle in Superior.

Nguyen's first court appearance was Oct. 23 in Hastings. His next court appearance is Oct. 30, and a jury trial on all charges is scheduled to begin Jan. 22, 2018.


--Hannah Burlingame

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