General Crime

Prosecutors Say Wrong Tong Twin Was Initially Charged For Allegedly Murdering Richard Phan

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Prosecutors have dropped a murder charge against an 18-year-old San Jose man and have instead charged his twin brother for a fatal stabbing that occurred over the weekend, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

The district attorney’s office on Wednesday filed an amended complaint charging Anh Tong with the murder of 22-year-old Richard Phan on Jan. 26 and charging Tong’s twin brother Duc — who had initially faced a murder charge — with two counts of being an accessory to the killing, prosecutors said.

Deputy District Attorney Dan Fehderau said prosecutors made the decision to charge Duc Tong’s twin brother Anh with the murder instead based on new information from San Jose police.

“The investigation has been ongoing, and new and credible information came to light over the last few days that required a re-evaluation of the brothers’ roles in the case,” Fehderau said.

“This is an example of police keeping an open mind, pursuing the investigation and waiting to get it right,” he said.

The specific allegations in the case are in a sealed affidavit, and the district attorney’s office cannot comment about them, prosecutors said.

The Tongs have remained in custody at the Santa Clara County Main Jail since they were arrested shortly after Phan was stabbed to death outside his female friend’s birthday party. The killing happened at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday in the 3400 block of Suncrest Avenue.

The brothers both fled the scene of the stabbing before they were captured and arrested on suspicion of murder, according to police.

Prosecutors at first filed the murder charge against only Duc Tong while Anh Tong remained in custody without formal charges filed against him related to the stabbing.

Duc Tong is being held on $200,000 bail, and no bail amount has been set for his brother, according to prosecutors.

Wednesday’s amended complaint was filed when Duc Tong appeared in Superior Court in San Jose for a plea hearing with his public defender, Charlie Hendrickson.

Hendrickson said that he had little information about the case because the first and second probable cause statements given to prosecutors by police remain under seal.

A hearing for a plea entry and the defense’s request to reduce bail for Duc Tong is set for Feb. 24, Hendrickson said. No arraignment date is set yet for Anh Tong but he may appear in court this afternoon.

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