Man pleads guilty to murder of Mendota Heights woman


Lucifer Vincent Nguyen

Lucifer Vincent Nguyen pleaded guilty May 8 to second-degree murder for killing a woman last July in Mendota Heights.  

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree aggravated robbery.

Nguyen killed 48-year-old Maplewood resident Beverly Cory in the Mendota Heights office building where she worked while he was evading police after he broke into a home.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement that under the plea agreement, Nguyen will be sentenced to more than 45 years in prison, but could be released under supervision after 30 years.

Nguyen, 45, was first charged on Oct. 20, 2017. He was apprehended by police on July 31, 2017, after being on the run for two days. He was captured in Blaine after his brother helped law enforcement locate him.

According to court records, on July 29, at approximately 9 a.m., officers from the Mendota Heights Police Department were dispatched to a residence on the 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, later identified as Nguyen, pulled over, stopping his vehicle for only a short time before fleeing at a high rate of speed and turning onto Plaza Drive. 

Not long after, the vehicle 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. 

As 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 Pine. Police entered the building, where they found a woman’s body, which was later identified as Cory. According to court documents, 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 later found on July 30 at the Washington County Fair Grounds 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. His sentencing hearing was set for May 11 in Hastings, after press time.

 

— Hannah Burlingame

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