Police determined that Robert Cotter's account of the May 17 incident was inconsistent with the physical evidence

By Chris Harris
July 19, 2021 01:47 PM
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Robert Cotter
| Credit: Fresno Police Department

A California teen who told police in May his younger brother fatally shot his father before turning the gun on himself was arrested Friday, charged with killing both victims, PEOPLE confirms.

According to a statement from Fresno Police, 18-year-old Robert Cotter told police he was in the family's home on May 17 when his 15-year-old brother, Brian Cotter, shot and killed his 53-year-old father, Patrick Cotter.

The defendant told detectives that immediately afterwards, Brian fatally shot himself with the same gun.

Police were called to the home and discovered Patrick dead from a "gunshot wound to the upper body," and Brian alive, but severely wounded.

Brian was rushed to the hospital, where he clung to life for several days before succumbing to his injuries.

But as the investigation progressed, detectives determined Robert's account of the purported murder-suicide was "inconsistent with the physical evidence obtained during the investigation."

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Investigators confronted him, and the teen allegedly "made admissions, to detectives, about planning and acting out the brutal murders."

Cotter is being held without bail.

Police have not discussed a motive.

Cotter is charged with two counts of murder. He has yet to enter pleas to the charges.

It was unclear Monday if he was represented by an attorney.