One of the suspects accused of murdering two men in the Timbergrove neighborhood went before a judge Friday for the first time after being brought back from Vietnam.
The judge is holding Polie Phan on no bond. He is now back in Harris County after being tracked down from Vietnam and is being charged with capital murder.
Cameras were allowed in court as he appeared in an orange jumpsuit.
This case goes back to January when the body of Dana Ryssdal was found in a Heights-area townhome. Then the body of his friend, James Martin, was found in the trunk of a white Prius.
Autopsy reports show both men died from multiple gunshot wounds, and detectives believe Phan, 26, and co-defendant Jaidan Vu Nguyen, 25, were involved.
The motive appears to be drugs after investigators determined that Martin and Ryssdale were involved in marijuana harvesting in Oregon, where it is legal.
The Prius belonging to Martin was key in this case. A neighbor spotted the car running in the garage of the townhome and called 911.
Surveillance video also proved helpful in tracking everyone’s movements.
“They were able to see on video this defendant motioning to the complainant to pull his car into that garage. So, you see on video our complainant backing his Prius into the garage and the garage door going down. A period of time passes, and officers are able to see that Prius leave the garage and you cannot see complainant Ryssdale, but you see a male consistent with Polie Phan driving the car, along with another individual, out of that location,” an attorney said in court.
Phan and Nguyen were tracked down in Vietnam trying to evade police.
Nguyen should be back in Harris County by Friday night. A third person, Kathy Vu, Phan’s girlfriend, has been charged with tampering with evidence after allegedly helping clean up the crime scene. A judge in probable cause court set her bond at $40,000.