Fresno pot house murder suspect claims self defense

FRESNO, Calif.

Less than three months after the incident, the suspect is headed for trial next week.

The morning of the shooting at the house across the street from Roeding Park, someone took pictures from across the street.

Franz Criego doesn't know what's in those pictures -- he just got them Wednesday -- but he's hoping they'll prove his theory of self-defense.

When thieves broke into his yard and tried to steal the medical marijuana growing there, police say Phayvanh Dydouangphan shot twice -- once as a warning, and once through the windshield of a pickup truck serving as the getaway car.

That second shot killed one of the thieves, 40-year-old Stanley Wallace, and led to murder charges against Dydouangphan. But his attorney says those weren't the only shots fired.

"There was a statement from another independent witness who said there were three shots," Criego said. "Two we know were [from a] shotgun. One we believe was [from] a handgun."

Investigators found no evidence of a third shot at the scene and they never found a gun in the pickup truck. But Criego says police just weren't looking hard enough.

"It's called sloppy police work," Criego said. "They made their mind up my client was guilty, took no steps to act further on it."

Action News obtained a search warrant showing Dydouangphan confessed the shooting to police, saying in broken, "They rob, I shoot."

ABC-30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi says it won't be easy, but Criego may be able to create doubt about whether the thieves were also armed.

"There's no evidence of gunshots from the truck that I understand," Capozzi said. "No evidence of a gun on the victim or the driver of the truck. That doesn't mean they couldn't have thrown it out the window."

Criego also says none of the thieves was tested for gunshot residue, so there's no way of knowing if any of them fired a weapon.

Prosecutors could not comment on the case on the record, but they say they're ready for the trial to begin next week.

The pot plants police say made the house a target are now gone.

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