Murder of 20-year-old Californian solved after witnesses became “more cooperative”, police say
Three men have been arrested in northern California in connection with a gang-related murder case that occurred two decades ago after investigators re-interviewed witnesses who apparently had a “change of mind.” ‘notice,’ authorities said.
Nhin Phi Ha, 22, was stabbed to death by two suspects while standing outside his apartment complex on Avalani Avenue on October 31, 2001, the San Jose Police Department reported. Ha’s friend was also stabbed several times but survived his injuries.
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The two suspects fled in a vehicle driven by a third suspect.
Investigators worked for 20 years developing leads, but made no arrests until police partnered with the Cold Affairs Unit of the San Jose District Attorney’s Office in August 2021.
A fresh look “breathed new life into the investigation” and the team returned to old leads, police said.
“In fact, they went to re-examine the witnesses for whatever reason, they decided to become more cooperative,” said police spokesman Sgt. Christian Camarillo told KPIX-TV. “Maybe they weren’t involved in what they were involved in 20 years ago today. They were more open. Our detectives, with this new information, were able to corroborate some things they did know. already.”
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The team “made the connection” and located the three suspects in San José on Wednesday, police said. No details of the new information provided by the witnesses were immediately released.
Eutropio Dagayray, 47, Francis Dagayray, 45, and Gilbert Meriales, 45, were all arrested and held in the Santa Clara County Jail.
The three suspects face charges of homicide, assault with a lethal weapon and gang improvements.