CINCINNATI (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER) – Gurpreet Singh, accused of killing four members of his family in a West Chester apartment in April, will remain in jail as he waits for his trial to begin in September, according to FOX19 NOW’s media partners at the Enquirer.
Singh, 37, was indicted on four counts of aggravated murder of his wife Shalinderjit Kaur, his father-in-law Haikikat Singh, 59, his mother-in-law Parmjit Kaur, 62, and her sister Amarjit Kaur, 58, all shot and killed on April 28.
Singh was in court today, represented by Charlie M. Rittgers, Neal Schuett and John R. Bernans. A week ago, the defense filed a motion for reasonable bond, In a written argument they said Singh was married for 17 years and has two daughters and a son, aged 11, 7 and 5.
He has not seen them since he was arrested July 2 in Connecticut, where he traveled for a family wedding. He was extradited to Ohio a month later and has been held at the Butler County Jail since that time.
Attorneys said Singh is concerned for the children, as they are now without both parents.
His attorneys said Singh is an American citizen, a truck driver with his own business and has no criminal record. They also pointed out that Singh and his attorneys were aware that police had focused on him as their primary suspect early on, but he had made no attempt to flee.
The state objected, writing that Singh was facing the death penalty.
It was the second time Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge J. Gregory Howard denied a request for bond for Singh. Under the Ohio constitution, bond may be denied for capital murder cases, Howard said, before he refused to set bond again for the second time.
The judge asked Singh, who was handcuffed and shackled, if the jail was catering to his vegetarian diet. He also asked the defendant if his attorneys were in regular contact with him and whether he was happy with both.
Singh, dressed in a dark charcoal suit, a white shirt and black framed glasses, answered “Yes, sir,” to all the questions.
In addition to the bond request, a three-judge panel has been named, in case Singh chose to be tried by the panel instead of a jury trial, an option permitted in capital murder cases.
Numbers were assigned to all the Butler County Judges and placed in a glass jar. Howard picked the numbers for judges Keith Spaeth and Charles Pater to be on the panel, along with him.
The defense said they will opt for a jury trial and prosecutors said they do not expect the defendant Gurpreet Singh to choose this option either.
On March 6, the defense will argue for a motion to suppress all of Singh statements to law enforcement. Additionally, they will ask for a motion to dismiss the death penalty aspect of the case.
Singh made the 911 call and told police he found his family member shot in the apartment. West Chester police handcuffed him and took him to police headquarters, where attorneys said he was questioned for two hours before police read him his rights. They said he was not allowed to leave, call his family to check on his children or have access to an attorney.
While at the police station overnight, Singh was swabbed for DNA and photographed for bruises and scratches before being released. After police called him for a second round of questioning, Singh hired Rittgers & Rittgers Attorneys at Law.
Three relatives of Parmjit and Amarjit Kaur were in the courtroom. No one from Singh’s side was present.
There will be a status hearing Jan. 20 and a hearing on the admissibility of statements by the defendant March 6. Howard also said that in May, the standard two-page jury questionnaire will be sent out, since there have been no motions filed to add additional questions.
A trial date is set for Sept. 21.