Homeless Man Won't Be Charged in Fatal Stabbing of Teen at Campbell Park

By Shawn Murphy, Damian Trujillo and Stephanie Chuang
|  Thursday, Mar 20, 2014  |  Updated 8:14 AM PDT
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Campbell Police: Teen, 16, Fatally Stabbed in Park

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Park Stabbing Suspect Claims Self-Defense

Dozens of friends gathered Monday night to remember Ivan Diaz Amezcua, a 16-year-old boy who was fatally stabbed at a popular Campbell park. Stephanie Chuang reports.

Park Stabbing Suspect Claims Self-Defense

Campbell police have arrested a 24-year-old transient in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 16-year-old San Jose boy in a popular park. Damian Trujillo reports.
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Two days after a 24-year-old homeless man was arrested and accused of fatally stabbing a teen in a South Bay park, the Santa Clara County District Attorney declined to file charges, saying the man had pulled out a hunting knife and stabbed a teen in self-defense.

"We declined to file charges against Todd Tharp," a spokesman told NBC Bay Area. "The evidence that we have looked at so far looks like self-defense."

That's what Tharp told NBC Bay Area in a jailhouse interview on Monday night, following the death of Ivan Diaz Amezcua, a 16-year-old boy who was fatally stabbed at a popular Campbell park.

“He turns and he hits me. He hits me, right?" Tharp said from jail. "I hit him and hit him twice, and he hits me, hit me once, and then one of the friends caught me from the side. He started kicking me and that's it. Only in my head, nowhere else, just my head."

Tharp said that he begged them to stop but they wouldn't, and that's when he started swinging with his knife in his hand.

Campbell police arrested Tharp after a fight broke out with Ivan and others by the bleachers at John D. Morgan Park -- the city's largest park -- sometime about 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.

It's unclear what the fight was over.

But police said Tharp pulled out a six-inch hunting knife and killed Amezcua, a junior at Boynton High School -- a continuation school -- who recently transferred from Westmont High School. Both schools are in Campbell.

Campbell Police Sgt. Joe Cefalu told NBC Bay Area that Tharp was giving police "complete cooperation" during their questioning.

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