San Jose: Prosecutors Drop Murder Charges Against One Twin; Arrests Other One


Dan Fehderau, Deputy District Attorney at the Santa Clara County, has dropped the homicide charges against an 18-year-old teenager Wednesday and instead indicted his identical twin brother, Anh Tong, of the crime.

Last week, Duc Tong was charged with murder in the stabbing death of 22-year-old San Jose State University student, Richard Phan, during a birthday party Jan 26. Fehderau said that Duc now faces two felony charges of acting as an accessory after the fact and is currently being held on $200,000 bail. On the other hand, Anh is charged with murder and an enhancement for allegedly using a knife. He is being held without a bond.

According to the police, the twins were uninvited guests at a birthday party for Phan's girlfriend on the 3400 block of Suncrest Avenue. Phan, a senior majoring in biological sciences, was stabbed while trying to play peacemaker in a fight that erupted on the street outside the party.

Fehderau claims the suspects to be fraternal twins. He declined to comment on what led to the reversed charges.

"This is an example of police keeping an open mind, basically going through their investigation and trying to get it right," the prosecutor Fehderau said, SF Gate reports.

Steven Clarke, a legal analyst, said that this is the first case in the United States where two identical twins are charged with the same homicide. He called the case as "a prosecutor's nightmare."

Clarke said that normally murder investigations at party scenes are challenging because witness reports are often altered by alcohol. However, this case is going to be even more challenging as the suspects are identical with no facial distinctions and have the same DNA.

"It makes it extremely difficult and can lead to a lot of confusion and finger-pointing. If the DA gets it wrong the first time, the defense is going to argue, 'Well, who's to say they got it right the next time?' A jury is going to look at this case now with some skepticism because the prosecution's theory has completely shifted by changing their theory from one twin to the other," Clarke said, cbs news reports.

The analyst said that if the investigators want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, they need to focus on the clothing or get hold of any video from the scene.

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