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Charlie Tan pleads not guilty; Lawyer in shock over charges

Charlie Tan pleaded not guilty Saturday to three federal weapons charges; receiving a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit an offense, and two counts of false statement during a firearm purchase.

Syracuse, N.Y. - Quiet and in an orange jump suit, Charlie Tan stood before a federal judge in Syracuse on Saturday.

He pleaded not guilty to three federal weapons charges; receiving a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit an offense, and two counts of false statement during a firearm purchase.

Outside of court, the U.S. prosecutor had no comment.

Tan's lawyer, Brian DeCarolis, said he found out through a text from a member of the media about Tan's arrest.

“To say that I’m shocked is an understatement," said DeCarolis. "Two and half years since the incident, two years since the trial so a Friday night in September, shocked."

DeCarolis says he was inundated with people expressing their support for Tan since news of the arrest spread.

"On the way down here, I'm getting messages from family friends. 'Tell him we love him,' 'Show him this if you can,' 'Tell him we're here for him,' all that type of stuff," DeCarolis said. "There's no doubt that support network, the same people I'd talk time and time again 2-2.5 years ago, hearing from them again today."

Tan was picked up Friday afternoon by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol at the Lewiston Bridge, entering the U.S. There was a warrant for his arrest.

It stems from the purchase of a shotgun at the Walmart in Cortland before the murder of Tan’s father, Jim, in February 2015.

The gun was purchased by Charlie Tan's friend, Whitney Knickerbocker. Knickerbocker has never been charged in connection to the gun purchase.

And Tan is the only person charged in the indictment from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

It's unclear if Knickerbocker will be charged. "That's a question for the federal government," DeCarolis said.

Tan is due back in court on Wednesday for a detention hearing.

He remains in custody.

All future court proceedings in the case will be settled in federal court in Syracuse due to Cortland County being in the jurisdiction of the U.S. Northern District U.S. Attorney's Office.

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