Judges to decide death or life sentence for convicted quadruple killer

Butler County case begins new phase after Gurpreet Singh’s conviction last week in deaths of family members.

The three Butler County judges, who Friday found the West Chester man guilty of four counts of aggravated murder with a death specification, began deliberation late Monday on Gurpreet Singh’s punishment, life of death.

After the mitigation hearing, the panel deliberated about 45 minutes and made the decision to return Tuesday morning for additional deliberation.

Singh, convicted of shooting his wife and three other family members in 2019, listened Monday as his parents via streaming from India told a panel of judges about his life as a boy and a young man in India.

Their comments came in the mitigation phase of Singh’s capital murder trial.

The panel of Judges Greg Howard, Greg Stephens and Keith Spaeth deliberated about two hours Friday following a 10-day retrial before announcing the verdict.

The 41-year-old former truck driver shot to death his wife Shalinderjit Kaur, 39; his in-laws, Hakikat Singh Pannag, 59, and Parmjit Kaur, 62; and his aunt-in-law, Amarjit Kaur, 58, inside their Wyntree Drive in West Chester Twp. on April 28, 2019.

The judges will consider Singh’s sentence and if to spare his life. By law, the options are 25 years to life in prison, 30 years to life, life in prison without the possibility of parole, and death.

Singh’s parents, Karam Singh and Duljit Kaur, both nearly 70 years old, testified their son was smart, finishing one year of college, and was a outgoing friendly boy.

Karam Singh said his son and Shalinderjit lived with them for a while after they married, and he never saw any violence from Gurpreet toward his wife.

As a boy, Gurpreet worked on the family farm, and studied hard to learn English, Karam Singh said.

Duljit Kaur said Gurpreet was never a problem as a child and loves his sister “very much.”

“He liked to study, work and had good behavior,” Duljit Kaur said through an interpreter.

Defense attorney Mark Wieczorek pointed to Gurpreet Singh’s lack of criminal past, and noted being a hard worker until the time of his incarceration. The attorney said Singh loved his family, followed the Sikh faith and has been a model prisoner while at the Butler County Jail — all reasons to impose a life option, the lawyer said.

Wieczorek said a mitigation specialist presented an opinion that Gurpreet Singh “does not present with significant risk factors to reoffend.”

Sheriff’s Office Correction Officer Roger Mcilvaine testified Singh was “always cool and calm.”

He always held his head high, was well spoken and “even stuck up for other inmates,” Mcilvaine said.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

When the verdict was announced in Butler County Common Pleas Court, the victims’ family members, many of whom have traveled thousands of miles in the past five years to attend hearings and the first trial, wept as the lengthy verdict forms were read to announce Singh’s guilt. Afterward, they thanked prosecutors, the panel of judges and West Chester Twp. police officers who were in the courtroom for closings and the verdict.

Singh’s first trial had ended in a hung jury in October 2022.

Prosecutors drove home Singh’s financial disputes with his father-in-law, a long standing affair with a woman in Indiana and his dwindling bank accounts after giving that mistress $20,000 to buy a house in Indianapolis and providing a car for her with insurance.

In addition to forensic evidence showing Singh had his wife’s blood on his clothes when police arrive and his hand tested positive for gunshot residue, there were his “lies,” Muennich said.

He asked if an innocent man “who watched someone butcher his family would thoroughly lie to the police?”

Singh did not tell police about his affair or financial issues or that he had witnessed the shooting, as the defense claims.

“At any point this defendant could have told the police he was present during the shootings, but he didn’t,” Muennich said.

According to GPS records, Singh was also in the parking lot of the apartment complex 29 minutes before he called 911 at about 9:40 p.m. He also lied about the telling the 911 dispatcher he had just gotten home, according to prosecutors.

“Covered in the warm blood of family he lied and decided to say he had just gotten home,” Muennich said. ‘The defendant lied to protect himself.”

The defense pointed to the lies Singh told as the reason he is on trial, not because he is guilty.

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