Five purported gang members have been charged with murder in connection with an alleged attack on a homeless man in Campbell that provoked him to fatally stab a member of their group, authorities announced today.
The five suspects were arrested Friday and three adults were arraigned this afternoon on murder charges, according to Campbell police. Two 17-year-old suspects are scheduled to be arraigned as adults Thursday afternoon, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Lance Daugherty said.
They are all implicated in the March 16 stabbing death of 16-year-old Ivan Diaz.
Diaz was stabbed during a fight in John D. Morgan Park at 540 W. Rincon Ave. with Todd Tharp, 24, a transient who argued that he was defending himself when he was attacked, knocked to the ground and punched and kicked by at least four suspects.
Police said today that Tharp swung a knife toward one of the attackers who was kicking him in the head, later identified as Diaz.
Tharp was found injured in the park at about 8:30 p.m. that night and Diaz was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center with a stab wound but died early the next morning.
Police initially arrested Tharp, but prosecutors agreed that he was defending himself and declined to file charges against him.
On Friday, police served search warrants at the homes of five suspects believed to have been with Diaz during the alleged attack. All five were arrested and booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail.
Police identified the suspects as Anthony Fernandez, 20, of Stockton; Joshua Mauricio, 18, of San Jose; Alejandro Sandoval, 18, of San Jose; Julio Ibarra, 17, of San Jose; and Brallan Villegas, 17, of San Jose.
All five have been charged with murder, assault with a deadly weapon and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, according to police. They are all alleged Sureno gang members and each charge has an added gang enhancement, police said.
Ibarra and Villegas have been charged as adults, according to police. They are due to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.
Under the state’s provocative act doctrine, they can be charged with murder even though it was Tharp, the victim, who actually stabbed Diaz. The law allows a defendant to be charged with murder if his or her life-threatening action causes someone else to commit a killing.
All five suspects are being held without bail and are scheduled to return to court April 11, prosecutors said.
Campbell police are asking anyone with information about the murder to contact them at (408) 871-5190. Anyone who wants to remain anonymous can contact Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP.
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