Charles Tan's booking photo. Courtesy of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office

The lawyer for a Cornell student charged with killing his father appeared on WHAM Radio in Rochester Wednesday morning and issued a statement to the station.

“We’ve had a number of cases that started murder in the second (degree) that have either resulted in lesser charges or … a finding of not guilty,” James Nobles, a defense attorney in the Rochester area, said on the radio station a little before 11 a.m.

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Charlie Tan, 19, a student in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was arrested Tuesday and charged with second-degree murder.

Nobles is representing Tan. On Wednesday, the defense attorney issued a statement to WHAM.

“We’re doing our own investigation, but one thing that’s certainly clear is a history of domestic violence in that home for more than twenty years,” Nobles told WHAM. “Not only towards Charlie Tan’s mother, but also towards both sons.”

Law enforcement responded to Tan’s home in Pittsford, near Rochester, on Monday night to find Tan and Qing Tan, 56, standing in the driveway outside the home.

As deputies were responding, they learned that a person had been shot, according to Corporal John Helfer of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Tan’s father, Ling Tan, former president and chief executive officer of Dynamax Imaging, was found dead inside.

Tan was arrested the next day after a shotgun was found in the home, according to Corporal Helfer.

Nobles, the defense attorney, told WHAM that there is expected to be a bail hearing Friday afternoon.

“I don’t put much stock in the sheriff’s charges,” he said. “We find out what we think happened and try to present that. In my experience in being a prosecutor I don’t put much stock in what the police initially claim.”

Tan was a sophomore at Cornell and a member of the university’s sprint football team, according to the university’s website.

“Cornell University is not involved in the Pittsford investigation and consequently we have no comment on that investigation,” Joel Malina, vice president of University Relations, said in a statement.

“Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time.”


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.