The trial of a Buford man charged with beating and raping a woman held captive in a basement has been postponed, Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Tom Davis said.
Opening arguments were expected to begin Tuesday morning in the case of Thuan Q. Dinh. Dinh’s lawyer was experiencing an unexpected family emergency Monday, and while he did not ask to delay the trial, Davis “made the decision for him.”
Davis declared a mistrial on the grounds of the attorney’s capacity to represent Dinh. Dinh’s case will be rescheduled in the coming weeks.
Dinh was charged with rape, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and robbery in November 2017, after the woman allegedly broke free from the basement where she was held on Thanksgiving. Dinh’ had filed a speedy trial motion to force the case before a jury within a year of his arrest. Speedy trial motions force a case to be heard in the current term of court.
Dinh had been dating the alleged victim long-distance for a few months; he lived in Georgia and she lived in California. They would regularly meet at casinos in locations like Las Vegas and Cherokee, North Carolina. In the days before Thanksgiving, Dinh met the woman in California and they took a road trip to the East Coast, according to police.
Dinh and the woman went to a vacant home on Grand Ashbury Lane on the morning of Nov. 23. When the woman asked why they were there, Dinh shocked her with a stun gun, according to Gwinnett County police. He took a diamond ring worth $88,000 off her finger and a $30,000 receipt from the Bellagio casino out of her purse, then bound and gagged her using duct tape, Officer Kim Riddle testified in a December 2017 hearing.
For the next 24 hours, Dinh beat, raped and shocked the woman, who was held in a basement with tape over her nose, a gag in her mouth and a bag over her head. Dinh would regularly check if she was alive and was “waiting for her to die,” Riddle said.
The woman managed to wriggle free of her hand restraints and crawl out of a basement window around 9 a.m. on Nov. 24, Riddle said. The woman ran to a nearby house, naked except for the tape on her head, wrists and ankles, and asked the people inside to call 911. When officers arrived, the woman told them Dinh had ‘tortured’ her in the basement. Dinh was not at the home when police got there, but was arrested in a traffic stop five days later.
Dinh has been held without bond since his November 2017 arrest.
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