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Man Acquitted of Four Killings

March 20, 1999

HOUSTON (AP) _ A man who admitted he gunned down four people after one of them banged on his front door in the middle of the night and punched him in the chest has been acquitted of capital murder charges.

Narit Burin ``Archie″ Bunchien, 22, chased the visitor 70 feet down his driveway and pumped four to seven bullets into each of the victims, including a 15-year-old girl, outside his home in 1996.

Prosecutors said they had no reason to doubt that Bunchien feared for his life. But they contended his behavior was not self-defense because of the number of victims and the nature of their wounds.

On Thursday, a jury cleared Bunchien. He had been held in Harris County Jail for more than two years while awaiting trial.

One of the victims, An Phong Ngoc ``Nick″ Nguyen, 21, had come pounding on Bunchien’s door at 3 a.m., demanding that he apologize for jokingly calling the girl a prostitute weeks earlier, according to testimony.

Bunchien said he agreed to apologize but that Nguyen hit him in the head anyway. The others were outside the home near a car.

Bunchien pulled a pistol and chased Nguyen. Nguyen called to the girl to get a gun, according to Bunchien. Two young men who had gotten out of the car jumped back in, and Nguyen followed.

Bunchien emptied his pistol into the four. None was armed, and no weapon was found in the car.

The jury foreman was quoted anonymously by the Houston Chronicle as saying he agreed with defense attorney Dick DeGuerin that anybody who pounds on someone’s door at 3 a.m. is ``up to no good.″

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