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Suspect pleads guilty in deadly Twin Cities crime spree

Lucifer Vincent Nguyen and Beverly Cory Nguyen photo courtesy of Dakota County sheriff's office; Cory photo courtesy of Edward Jones

ST. PAUL—A New Hope man accused of murdering a Mendota Heights financial adviser in her office while he was on the run from police last summer pleaded guilty Tuesday, May 8.

Lucifer Vincent Nguyen, 45, shot and killed Beverly Cory while he was fleeing police on July 29 after committing a home-invasion robbery earlier that day, according to a news release issued Tuesday by Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. An autopsy showed Cory, 48, of Maplewood died of a single bullet wound to the head.

Nguyen pleaded guilty in Dakota County District Court to one count of second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated robbery, the news release said. Under a plea agreement, Nguyen will be sentenced to more than 45 years in prison, but he could be granted supervised release after serving 30, Backstrom said.

"On behalf of everyone involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case, Backstrom expressed his deep sympathy to the family, friends and co-workers of Beverly Cory for their great loss and his continuing concern for the well-being of the other victims involved in this case," the news release said.

About 9 a.m. July 29, Mendota Heights police were dispatched to an armed robbery at a home in the 1600 block of Delaware Avenue, where a woman, identified in court documents as "NJ," told officers that Nguyen had stolen her wallet and and some other cash at gunpoint before fleeing in a white Toyota, according to the criminal complaint against Nguyen.

Officers attempted to stop the car a short time later, but Nguyen sped off and crashed into a pond, where the car was soon found by police with no one inside. The car contained items that tied Nguyen to the vehicle, as well as an empty Glock handgun case and NJ's wallet.

About the same time, officers were dispatched to a Mendota Heights senior care facility, where Nguyen had forced his way inside and stolen an employee's building keys. While that facility was being evacuated, officers received a report that blood was seeping out from beneath the door of an office suite in a building across the street.

When officers entered the office suite, they found Cory dead inside, with a 9 mm cartridge case near the body of the Edward Jones financial adviser. Investigators also discovered Cory's vehicle was missing from the building's parking lot; it was later recovered at the Washington County Fairgrounds.

Hours after killing Cory, Nguyen encountered an off-duty St. Paul firefighter who was working in his yard in Lake Elmo. Nguyen offered the man up to $300 in cash to drive him to Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake. The firefighter declined and Nguyen walked away, he told the Pioneer Press at the time.

Nguyen remained on the lam for two days, prompting officials to advise nearby residents to lock their doors and remain inside while police searched for him.

Nguyen was arrested on July 31 with the help of his brother during a traffic stop in Blaine. Inside the car, officers found a Garmin GPS that belonged to Cory.

Nguyen is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. May 11 in Hastings.

At the time of his arrest, Nguyen had been recently released from Douglas County, Wis., jail after posting $10,000 bond relating to felony drug and battery charges. He allegedly was in possession of nearly a pound of methamphetamine and while in custody assaulted another inmate.

In Minnesota, Nguyen has convictions for misdemeanor theft and drunken driving.

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