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Published: Thursday, October 10, 2019 @ 2:50 PM
BUTLER COUNTY — A 2020 trial date has been set for a man accused of killing his wife and three other family members in West Chester Twp. last spring.
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.
After meeting with attorneys and prosecutors for nearly an hour in chambers, the case was called and Howard set Sept. 21 as Singh’s trial date.
During an arraignment in August, Singh passed out in the courtroom while standing at the podium. At Thursday’s hearing he was seated at the defense table next to Charles H. Rittgers.
Howard questioned Singh if he was satisfied with his attorney and how he was being treated in the Butler County Jail. He said he was satisfied with both.
Rittgers told the judge there is one issue — his client is a vegetarian and the jail is trying to accommodate his dietary needs.
Singh’s family members were in attendance, some of which supported him, but most who did not. They left the courtroom without comment.
A number of motions have been filed by the defense that will require response from the prosecution. Howard set a hearing for Nov. 13 to consider some of those motions.
One motion filed by the defense is to close all pre-trial hearings. Rittgers said he filed the motion to protect the jury pool.
“Because of the publicity, we do not want the jury tainted by anything that may be heard as as result of what the prosecutors say or what we say,” he said.
The defense attorney maintains Singh is innocent.
Singh is the man who called 911 at about 9:40 p.m. on the night of April 28, screaming that he 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 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 64 search warrants have been issued as part of the investigation. They are sealed by the judge for all but attorneys to 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 the apartment and 360 interactive scene photos.
Listed search warrants include four cars, computers, cellphones, “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.