Jury views crime scene photos in West Chester quadruple homicide trial

Defendant Gurpreet Singh faces death penalty if convicted.

HAMILTON — West Chester Police Sgt. Eric Couch spent three days collecting evidence at the April 28, 2019 quadruple homicide scene. On Friday, during the fifth day of the Gurpreet Singh death penalty trial, the officer spent hours on the stand identifying bags and boxes of evidence.

Singh 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 there residence on Wyndtree Drive.

The 40-year-old defendant’s trial began Monday in Butler County Common Pleas Court and is expected to last three weeks.

Graphic photos of the apartment depicting pools of blood and bodies of the four victims were shown to the jury. Evidence placards littered the floor, marking bullet casings and other evidence.

The apartment looked lived in with typical household items and toys. Parmjit Kaur and Amarjit Kaur lay bloody a few feet from each other in the family room. Singh’s wife, Shalinderjit, was near the kitchen area in a pool of blood. A tea container and a boiled over pot is on the stove top.

When officers arrived after Singh called 911, the fire alarm was sounding loudly because of the smoking food.

Partially under Shalinderjit’s body was a cell phone and a pair of boots splattered with human matter, near her head. Both were seized as evidence, Couch said.

Hakikat Singh Pannag was wrapped in a blanket asleep on his side in his bed, His face and head distorted by bullets. On the bedside table was a cell phone. Couch said the man’s morning alarm sounded at 6 a.m. while he was processing the scene.

Casings were found near and around all the victims. Couch identified 13, opening up each evidence bag and showing the jury. The sergeant also walked in front of the jury box displaying the boots taken from the scene.

Prosecutors also showed the jury bloody footprints found in the breezeway leading to the apartment building and shoe prints inside the apartment. Two holes were found fired from inside the apartment and slugs were found lodged in the siding of the apartment across the breezeway.

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In testimony Thursday, West Chester Police Sgt. Michael Bruce said he and two other officers responded to the apartment complex about 9:50 p.m., parked their cars and ran to the address. Police body camera video shows Singh, bloody, in a red shirt, standing in the breezeway.

“Down on the ground,” an officer says. Singh is crying and saying he “doesn’t know what happened.”

Guns drawn, Bruce and others go through the apartment, where glimpses of the bloody victims are visible.

“Significant amount of blood,” Bruce says in the video as he opens the door. Then he starts finding multiple victims, saying, “gunshot wounds to the head.”

Bruce said he did not see any vehicles or people leaving the apartment complex as he responded, and Singh never told them people had broken into the residence and he ran from the apartment after seeing one of the masked men with a baseball bat.

The defense said during opening statements Wednesday that others are responsible for the slayings tied to a land feud in India and financial problems of Hakikat Singh Pannag. Singh saw the three men break in, fled, and when he returned, the family was dead, the defense told the jury.

During cross examination, Bruce said he did not observe comings and goings from all the entrances to the apartment complex.

Prosecutors say Singh is guilty of the homicides, while Singh and his attorneys maintain his innocence, saying another person or persons are responsible for the mass family shooting.


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