Gurpreet Singh, accused of the 2019 West Chester Twp. killing of his wife and three family members, has hired a new defense team for his retrial scheduled for 2024.
Cincinnati attorneys Mark Wieczorek and Alexandria Deardorff filed a notice of appearance Monday afternoon to represent Singh, according to the Butler County Clerk of Courts.
The notice says Wieczorek and Deardorff have been retained as Singh’s attorneys, replacing court-appointed attorneys David Washington, Jeremy Evans and Lawrence Hawkins III. Washington said Monday he had been informed of the change.
Singh, who faces the death penalty if convicted, is scheduled to be in court May 9. He remains housed in the Butler County Jail without bond.
In February, Judge Greg Howard set trial for April 29, 2024, and it is scheduled to last four weeks.
Credit: Nick Graham
Credit: Nick Graham
In October, after a three-week trial with nearly two weeks of testimony and 14 hours of deliberation, Howard declared a mistrial when the jury indicated it was hung and did not believe any further deliberations would serve a useful purpose.
After the mistrial, Singh’s retained attorneys from Rittgers and Rittgers law firm were permitted to withdraw from his case indicating Singh could no longer pay them. Howard then appointed Washington and Evans, who have specialized training in capital cases, to represent Singh.
The 40-year-old former truck driver is charged with four counts of aggravated murder for allegedly shooting and killing his wife Shalinderjit Kaur, 39; his in-laws, Hakikat Singh Pannag, 59, and Parmjit Kaur, 62; and his aunt-in-law, Amarjit Kaur, 58, at a West Chester Twp. apartment on April 28, 2019.
Prosecutors said Singh murdered his family by shooting them all in the head after a longtime affair he was having and a strained relationship with his in-laws over money from land owned in India.
The defense team at trial said Singh is innocent and the killings were part of a professional hit due to Pannag’s financial woes and a dubious land contract deal in India with the “land mafia.” They say three masked men broke into the apartment with baseball bats, and Singh ran for his life. When he returned, everyone was dead.
But there was little evidence presented at trial by the defense to support that theory.
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