Trial date for man accused in West Chester quadruple homicide delayed due to pandemic

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Gurpreet Singh appears in court with interpreter

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The trial for a West Chester Twp. man charged with killing four members of his family in 2019 has been moved to the fall due to coronavirus concerns.

Gurpreet Singh, 38, is charged with four counts of aggravated murder for the April 28, 2019, homicides. With specifications of using a firearm and killing two or more persons, Singh faces the death penalty if convicted.

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Singh is accused of 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 residence on Wyndtree Drive. All died of gunshot wounds.

His trial was scheduled for May 3, and it was rescheduled to Oct. 18.

Singh was in Butler County Common Pleas Court Wednesday for a pretrial hearing. Judge Greg Howard raised questions about how realistic the May trial date was due to the continued pandemic.

Howard said those in the jury pool for ongoing cases are calling daily wanting to know what has been done to protect their health during jury selection and trials.

“My personal opinion that given the ongoing state of the pandemic, the vaccine not going as quickly as everyone believed it would go, getting 14 to 16 people for three weeks to try a case in this courtroom or the courtroom down the hallway that has been outfitted with plexiglass … I just don’t see us being able to get 16 people to sit with us, away from their families next to strangers,” Howard said.

He added there are a large number of attorneys, witnesses and interpreters who also would have to be in the courtroom.

Both the prosecutors and defense team said they were ready for trial, but understood the concerns about COVID and did not want to risk a mistrial.

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