New federal indictment for Charlie Tan brings gun purchase process into play
Syracuse, N.Y. (WHAM) - The man facing federal weapons charges related to a 2015 homicide in Pittsford was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury.
Charlie Tan was indicted on three counts: receiving a firearm with intent to commit an offense, false statement during purchase of a firearm and false statement during purchase of a firearm. A superceding indictment was filed in federal court Thursday.
Tan was tried for the murder of his father, Jim Tan, in February 2015 at their home in Pittsford. His first trial ended in a mistrial and Judge James Piampiano threw out the charges against him just as a second trial was scheduled to begin.
The new indictment alleges that a person described only as "W.K." was directed to purchase a Remington Model 870 12 gauge shotgun from a Cortland County Walmart on Tan's behalf. The indictment further alleges that Tan intended to use the shotgun to shoot his father.
Surveillance video from the Cortland Walmart played at the first trial shows Tan at the counter attempting to purchase the shotgun in 2015. Because he was a Canadian citizen, he was given a waiting period. A second video taken at the same store on the same day shows another young man - Whitney Knickerbocker - purchasing the same gun.
Knickerbocker's identity has been known since the murder trial. He has not been charged with any crimes and is scheduled to testify in this upcoming federal trial. This could mean there is a cooperation agreement in place granting him immunity in exchange for his testimony.
Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that statements Tan made to Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies on the night he was arrested for his father’s murder will be admissible in his upcoming federal trial.
Tan’s attorneys had requested some statements he made should be thrown out, saying Tan had not been read his Miranda Rights by deputies. Prosecutors argued the questions asked by Deputies Christopher Cooper and Derek Smith were not incriminating in nature, and were delivered in the interest of public safety. The deputies testified they asked Tan a few questions, including where his father was, and had not intended to interview Tan at that moment, therefore not reading him his Miranda Rights.
The trial will be on June 25, 2018.