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Charlie Tan pleads guilty to federal weapons charges

Charlie Tan is expected to plead guilty Friday in federal court in Syracuse in connection to federal weapons charges. (WHAM photo)

Charlie Tan pleaded guilty to all three weapons charges in federal court Friday.

Tan pleaded guilty to the charges of receiving a firearm with intent to commit an offense, false statement during purchase of a firearm and false statement during purchase of a firearm, as well as aiding and abetting, and willfully causing a federal offense. The charges stemmed from the purchase of a shotgun used to kill his father, Jim Tan, in Pittsford back in February 2015.

As Tan pleaded guilty, supporters in court blew him kisses, saying "We love you."

As part of the plea agreement, the 22-year-old admitted that he asked multiple friends at Cornell University to buy a shotgun for him on February 5. When the first person was unable to purchase the shotgun, he texted a second friend, asking "you wanna make a quick 100$" and picked up the friend, later identified as Whitney Knickerbocker. Tan lied and said he needed the shotgun for a hunting trip in Pennsylvania that weekend.

Knickerbocker then bought the shotgun for Tan. After obtaining the shotgun and ammunition, Tan then went to his Pittsford family home where his father was located. In an offer of proof brief filed by prosecuting attorneys, attorneys wanted Tan to admit that he fatally shot this father three times - twice in the chest and once in the face. However Tan's attorneys said the plea agreement did not cover the allegations made in this section of the brief.

Tan was initially 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.

On September 22, 2017, Tan was arrested as he tried to enter the United States near Buffalo to attend the wedding of a friend.

An indictment handed down by a grand jury earlier this month 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.

Documents filed in federal court as early as Monday show defense attorneys had lined up several potential character witnesses for Tan.

Prosecuting attorneys had an extensive list of more than 130 exhibits that were to be used in the trial.

Officials say he could face up to 25 years in prison.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 18 at 10 a.m. in Syracuse.

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