For the first time, a father, whose son was arrested in connection with the death of a 16-year-old boy at John D. Morgan Park in Campbell, is speaking out, and even though his son and four friends did not kill anyone, they are all charged with murder.
In an exclusive interview with NBC Bay Area on Sunday, Jose Villegas said his son is being vilified, as he told his side of the story about what he says transpired March 16, when a 16-year-old was fatally stabbed.
"He’s like any other kid his age," Villegas said in Spanish, speaking through a translator. "He goes to school. He goes out, hangs out with his friends. He’s not like everybody is quoting him. He’s not a criminal."
Villegas is talking about his 17-year-old son, Brallen Villegas, who faces numerous charges, including murder, in connection to the killing of his friend 16-year-old Ivan Diaz.
Police originally said a 24-year-old homeless man fatally stabbed Diaz in Campbell. The homeless man admitted he stabbed the teenager, but police released him, supporting his claim that he was acting in self-defense.
The homeless main maintains that Diaz, along with five other young men, including Villegas, attacked him.
"When he got to the park, that’s when the accident happened and he was there," Villegas said, recalling a conversation he had with his son. "But he never touched the person, nor did he get close to the person, so that’s why I feel it is an injustice that he is being called a gangster."
Under the Provocative Act Doctrine, a person whose accomplice is killed by the intended victim in the course of a crime can be charged with murder. Villegas said his son went to the park to meet friends, but arrived after the stabbing. After a couple of the other men ran away, the father said, his son stayed to help his friend get to the hospital.
"Everywhere he’s being seen as a criminal and people are seeing me as a parent of a criminal," Villegas said. "Right now, he’s being blamed for a crime he didn’t commit and it’s affecting everybody--me, my family, my younger son."
Despite what Villegas’s father and friends said, police claim the teenager and the other four men being charged have gang ties. Villegas said he has talked to his son who maintains his own innocence.
Villegas and one other teenager are bring prosecuted as adults. If convicted, all five suspects could face sentences of 15 years to life in prison.