Butler County prosecutor objects to use of public funds for quadruple homicide suspect’s defense

The defendant, Gurpreet Singh, faces four counts of aggravated murder for allegedly killing...
The defendant, Gurpreet Singh, faces four counts of aggravated murder for allegedly killing four family members.(WXIX)
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 1:12 PM EDT
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WEST CHESTER, Ohio (WXIX) - The Butler County prosecutor is urging the court to reconsider a ruling that will allow public funds to be used to defend a man charged in connection with a quadruple homicide.

Gurpreet Singh faces four counts of aggravated murder for allegedly killing his wife, her parents, and her aunt at the Lakefront at West Chester apartment complex in April 2019.

Singh was declared indigent which means he no longer has the funds to pay for private defense counsel, according to court documents.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser wrote in his objection to the court that Singh’s counsel has charged fees equal to his total assets.

The defense team was retained and paid for by a family member of Singh, according to court documents. The funds needed for additional services and experts have run out, the documents read.

For the defense counsel to then request taxpayer funds for mitigation and forensic experts and private investigators on top of the $250,000 they have already charged for this case is “unacceptable,” Gmoser said.

In a case like Singh’s, the prosecutor notes that “any experienced lawyer” should know those experts would be needed.

The defense team said in court they expect to need an additional $50,000 to $60,000 for the experts. How defense counsel came up with the numbers is unclear, the judge wrote in the ruling.

Gmoser says in his objection it can only be assumed the defense team planned to use taxpayer funds all along.

“It is unacceptable to the State that defense counsel’s representation for $250,000 does not contemplate or take into account the need to hire such experts.

“The State can only be left with the assumption that defense counsel planned to charge a fee equal to this defendant’s assets and force upon the taxpayers the bill for experts all along.

“For the foregoing reasons, the State of Ohio respectfully believes that when private counsel is retained on a case, they should bear the full costs of representation or withdraw from the case and return the money paid,” Gmoser’s letter concludes.

The judge said in his decision the defense needs to file a motion and schedule a hearing with the court for any funds they request.

The trial in the quadruple homicide case has yet to begin.

On May 26, the defense requested more time due to delays in getting things they need from Singh’s home country because of COVID-19 restrictions, according to his attorney.

The trial was delayed until Oct. 3, 2022.

Singh could face the death penalty if convicted.

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