A man accused of killing four family members in West Chester last spring will be back in court this week as the next step in the case of one of the region’s deadliest crimes in decades.
Gurpreet Singh, 37, was indicted by a Butler County grand jury on four counts of aggravated murder stemming from the April 28 incident. With specifications of using a firearm and killing two or more persons, Singh faces the death penalty if convicted.
Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Howard denied bond for Singh during arraignment and set a pre-trial hearing for Thursday at the request of defense attorneys Charles H. and Charles W. Rittgers. The father-and-son attorney team defended Carlisle’s Brooke Skylar Richardson in a two-week trial last month and requested Singh’s pre-trial hearing wait until after that trial.
Singh is the man who called 911 at about 9:40 p.m. on the night of April 28 screaming that he had found his family dead, according to police. The defense team said Singh had last seen his family alive about 6 p.m. when he left to work on his truck.
Singh is accused of the killing his wife, Shalinderjit Kaur, 39; his in-laws, Hakikat Singh Pannag, 59, and Parmjit Kaur, 62; and his aunt by marriage, Amarjit Kaur, 58, at their apartment on Wyndtree Drive. All died of gunshot wounds.
On Sept. 24, prosecutors filed an eight-page document listing evidence in the case. Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said about 64 search warrants have been issued as part of the investigation. They are sealed by the judge for all but attorneys review.
Listed on the court documents are audio or video interviews with 42 people, including eight interpreter calls to India, and 24 electronic device downloads.
Lab results listed include a report of blood found on a belt, DNA on boots and siding, a projectile and gun report and a forensic dive team report.
The evidence listed also includes “Land dispute information with email correspondence, flow charts, and photographs of involved individuals. A copy of Hakikat passport, Hakikat power of attorney and India attorney send paperwork.”
Hundreds of photos are listed as evidence, including 146 from the crime scene, autopsy, gun recovery, apartment complex, firearm from apartment and 360 interactive scene photos.
Listed search warrants include four cars, computers, cell phones, “kids DNA,” a storage unit, Gas Buddy and American Airlines.
Surveillance video from 15 locations are part of the evidence list, including Compass Self Storage, Guru Temple, Jamie’s Landscaping, LePetite Academy, McDonald’s at Union Center, Premier Shooting and PNC Bank.
During the arraignment, Singh pleaded not guilty and waived the formal reading of the lengthy indictment. However, Howard ordered the indictment be read in open court.
The defense said Singh is a citizen of the United States and has been in constant contact, even when he moved to Indiana. The warrants related to the investigation include an Indianapolis address for Singh.
“When he was arrested, he was in Connecticut for a wedding that had been planned for a year,” Charles M. Rittgers said, adding Singh has no prior criminal record and has surrendered his passport.
Singh spent four weeks incarcerated in Connecticut after being arrested there on initial charges and warrants signed by the West Chester Police Department. He was transported from Connecticut and booked into the Butler County Jail on Aug. 2.
Rittgers said after the indictment was handed down that Singh is “absolutely not guilty.”
Singh retained the Rittgers team to represent him after West Chester police requested a second round of questioning, the attorney said. That is when Singh became concerned he was a suspect, despite being let go by detectives.
“They took him to back to the station immediately after he called 911 and after he discovered the body of his wife and his in-laws. They took him from the scene back to the station and interrogated him for six or seven hours and let him go at four or five in the morning,” Rittgers said.
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