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Man Acquitted of Four Killings

March 19, 1999

HOUSTON (AP) _ A man who claimed self-defense for gunning down four unarmed people in their parked car after one of them pounded on his door in the middle of the night and hit him was acquitted of murder.

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.

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.

Bunchien pulled a pistol and chased Nguyen. Nguyen called to the girl, who remained in the car, 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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