Murder charge against Charlie Tan dismissed
Rochester, N.Y. - It was supposed to be a routine hearing to determine the date for Charlie Tan's second murder trial.
But it was anything but routine. After blasting the prosecution for not proving its case, Judge James Piampiano ruled there was no evidence proven linking Charlie Tan to the murder of his father, Jim. Then, Judge Piampiano dismissed the murder charges.
His first murder trial ended in a mistrial last month.
After the judge's ruling, there was a hush in the courtroom as spectators and supporters realized what happened. Then, Tan began hugging his attorneys.
But the celebration turned to chaos when prosecutor Bill Gargan tried to challenge the judge and argue that he did prove Charlie Tan killed his father.
Gargan said Tan admitted to police he killed his father and his prints were on the shotgun shells.
But the judge had already made his decision, and he reprimanded Gargan for interrupting him and yelling into the microphone, at one point telling the prosecutor he would handcuff him if he didn't stop talking.
Gargan continued saying the court had "amnesia" and had forgotten evidence he introduced in Tan's first murder trial, which ended in a mistrial a month ago.
The judge told him his comments were offensive and gave Gargan the chance to take them back. He did not.
Finally the judge asked, "Are you done?" To which Gargan replied, "For now."
MORE: Photos: Charlie Tan case dismissed
Once the arguing stopped, Tan celebrated with his attorneys, hugging and crying, and then left the courtroom grinning. He was approached by reporters and appeared ready to finally tell his story, but was quickly whisked away by his attorneys.
Defense attorney James Nobles said Tan will talk, but not right now. He said he wasn't surprised by the ruling because he called the prosecution's case against Tan "weak."
Nobles said Tan cannot be retried for murder or tried as an accomplice, but could potentially be charged with weapons charges or something else.
Right now, attorneys said Tan would likely try to put this behind him and go back to college. He was a student at Cornell University when his father was murdered.
Gargan said he was prepared to set a date for Tan's second trial and had no idea, the charges might be dismissed. He called it an absurd ruling that he cannot appeal.
Gargan said he will work with the district attorney to determine their next step and if there will be any other charges filed against Tan or against someone else, in the murder of Jim Tan.