San Jose Stabbing: Only 1 Of 2 Arrested Brothers Charged In Murder

A stabbing in San Jose that claimed the life of a 22-year-old San Jose State University student early Sunday morning led to a highly unusual double arrest. Police took two twin brothers into custody in the fatal stabbing.

San Jose, California, cops said they arrested both Duc Tong, 18, and his brother Anh, 18, because witnesses had trouble telling the twins apart, so they couldn’t be sure which one actually stabbed Richard Phan at a birthday party, at about 1:30 am Sunday, CBS San Francisco News reported.

Both Tong brothers, who live in San Jose, were being held without bail in Santa Clara County Jail since Monday. But on Wednesday, the San Jose police made up their minds and charged Duc Tong (at right in the above picture) with murder with a felony enhancement, meaning he used a knife to kill Phan by stabbing.

Anh Tong was still being held late Wednesday, but according to a San Jose Mercury News report, is expected to be released. But that doesn’t mean he has been cleared in the stabbing, San Jose law enforcement was careful to point out.

“The investigation is ongoing as to both of them,” Deputy District Attorney Dan Fehderau told the paper. “We expect more interviews to be taking place.”

Phan, a San Jose State biology major, was attending a birthday party for a female friend, who had invited him to the event. The Tong brothers were reportedly invited by another party-goer.

Sometime after 1 am a fight erupted inside the home on the 3400 block of Suncrest Avenue in the Piedmont Hills neighborhood of San Jose. While early reports said that Phan attempted to intervene, and calm the melee, San Jose Officer Albert Morales changed that story on Wednesday to characterize the San Jose State student as “more of an active participant” in the brawl.

But police would not offer further information, or comment on what might have caused the fight, or led Duc Tong to stab Phan.

The Tong brothers fled the party and remained free of police clutches until Monday, when detectives from the San Jose Police special operations and anti-gang units tracked them down.

While police would not specify if the brothers are identical or fraternal twins, if they are identical, they would share DNA as well as their outward appearance, creating a challenge for prosecutors trying to pin the murder on one brother or the other.

The stabbing death of Richard Phan is the fourth homicide of 2014 in San Jose.