‘Prayers for justice’ marks anniversary of death of family in West Chester quadruple homicide

On April 28, 2019, four members of a family living in West Chester Twp. were shot and killed. Several months later Gurpreet Singh, husband of one victim, was arrested and charged with aggravated murder times four.

That is where the capital murder case remains today, despite legal twists and turns and a three week trial in October 2022 that ended in a hung jury.

On Sunday, the Sikh community held prayers for justice at Gurudwara sahib in West Chester Twp. for the “innocent souls.” killed.

Singh, a 40-year-old former truck driver, is charged with four counts of aggravated murder for allegedly shooting 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, at a Wyndree Drive apartment on April 28, 2019.

Gurinder Singh, son of Amarjit Kaur, said, “It’s been very tough years for whole family. Hung jury took Hakikat Singh brother’s life (because) he got shocked after hearing that. Whole family praying everyday for justice, we believe in American justice system. Soon we will get justice.”

Singh, who faces the death penalty if convicted, has been held in the Butler County Jail without bond for 3 years, 8 months and 22 days. He has served as a “porter” at times in the jail helping clean up and distribute items exchange for additional commissary or telephone time, according to Butler County Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer. He does have a cellmate and is in general population.

It was Singh who called 911 on the night of April 28, 2019. Police found him in shorts, a short and no shoes i the breezeway of the apartment complex. He had blood on his hands and clothes.

In that call, he screamed: “My wife and family are on the ground bleeding. Please hurry. No one is talking. No one is talking.”

Singh was questioned by West Chester Police and released, but later indicted following further investigation and arrested.

Last month, Cincinnati attorneys Mark Wieczorek and Alexandria Deardorff filed a notice of appearance Monday afternoon to represent Singh in his second trial.

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.

Singh was scheduled to be back in court May 9, but the hearing has been continued until June 6 at the request of the defense. Wieczorek declined comment.

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

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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.

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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.

Little evidence presented at trial by the defense supported that theory.

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