SAN JOSE, Calif. – Prosecutors have dropped charges against a man accused in the fatal stabbing of a San Jose State University student and are instead planning to charge his identical twin brother in what one legal analyst is calling “a prosecutor’s nightmare,” reports CBS San Francisco.
Duc Tong, 18, was charged with murder last week in the stabbing death of 22-year-old Richard Phan on Jan. 26. Tong and his twin brother, Ahn Tong, were uninvited guests at a birthday party for Phan’s girlfriend, according to police.
Police say that a fight broke out on the street outside and that Phan was stabbed while trying to play peacemaker.
“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,” said legal analyst Steven Clarke, who also called the case “a prosecutor’s nightmare.”
Though prosecutors now believe his brother is responsible for the murder, Duc Tong is not entirely off the hook. He still faces a lesser charge in connection with the fatal stabbing.
“I have never heard of any case like this in the United States, where two identical twins are charged with the same homicide,” said Clarke.
According to Clarke, murder investigations at party scenes are already challenging because witness accounts are often obscured by alcohol. “But in this case it’s even harder… with the suspects being identical,” he said. “You have problems… because they have the same DNA and significant problems with identification because they have no facial distinction.”
Clothing, witness accounts and any video from the scene may play a big role in the case, investigators said.