California prosecutors charge the wrong twin with murder

Duc Tong had been accused of murdering 22-year-old student Richard Phan

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The Independent US

Prosecutors in Santa Clara County, California, charged the wrong twin brother with murder, a court has heard.

Duc Tong, 18 and from San Jose, was initially charged over the murder of university student Richard Phan, and was expected to enter a plea yesterday.

But at the hearing on Wednesday, Deputy District Attorney Dan Fehderau said he was dropping the murder case against Duc Tong and charging Anh Tong, his twin brother, with murder and an enhancement for allegedly using a knife.

Duc Tong has still not been cleared, however, and faces charges of acting as an accessory after a crime. He is being detained in lieu of $200,000, (£122,767) bail. Anh Tong is currently being held without bail, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

San Jose police say the brothers are identical, but Fehderau asserts they are fraternal twins.

Phen, 22, was attending a birthday party in Suncrest Avenue when he was stabbed after trying to break up a fight that had broken out around 1am on 26 January. He died in hospital from his injuries.

The brothers had been invited to the party by a friend of the host, according to reports.

Fehderau declined to say what led to the change in charges.

Additional reporting by Associated Press