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Jury: Dan Popp legally responsible for triple homicide

Posted at 4:51 PM, Nov 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-10 00:17:48-05

A family is frustrated after a jury comes back with two different decisions during a triple murder trial. 

A jury returned a verdict in the trial of Dan Popp Thursday, agreeing that Popp was mentally ill when he killed his neighbors last year, Mai and Phia Vue and Jesus Manso-Perez.

Jurors had to answer two questions. First, at the time of the crime, did Dan Popp suffer from a mental disease or defect? And two, because of that disease or defect, did he lack the ability to understand what he was doing was wrong?  

The confusion came during the second question. Jurors first said Popp did not understand that committing murder was wrong. That decision would send him to a mental health facility.

A judge sent the jury back to clarify the decision, and when they returned, the verdict changed to say he did in fact know right from wrong. That decision would send him to prison.

"So now there is a question of what does this mean when first they answered yes and the second time they entered no," said defense attorney Christopher Hartley.

A judge ultimately decided to delay accepting the jury's decision until both sides could submit legal briefs. The final decision could come in January. 

The confusion led to frustration for the victim's families.

"Mr. Popp is a ruthless monster. If this country's law cannot protect my children in their own home from a monster like Mr. Popp it's going to continue," said Tou Xiong, the brother of Mai Vue.

The Vues were shot after Popp killed Manso-Perez. Popp went into their apartment, and dragged out Phia Vue, leaving him dead in front of his children. Then, he grabbed Mai Vue.

"My children were hunted and killed in their own homes like animals," said Xiong translating for his father Txoos Vang.

Isabel Vue, 15, survived. She said her and her siblings' lives have changed forever.

"Nothing can ever bring my mom and dad back," said Isabel Vue. "We forgive you Mr. Popp because our parents taught us hate can only create more hate." 

Popp will stay in jail until his the judge accepts a verdict.