New charges delay murder trial for honors student, boyfriend

The trial of a faculty honors scholar and her boyfriend accused of killing a marijuana supplier will probably be delayed after a decide dismissed the unique indictment in favor of a brand new one which lodges eleven further fees towards the Monmouth County couple.

Trupal Patel, who was discovered lifeless Feb. 22. (Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Workplace)

Jury choice within the trial of Joseph Villani and Rachel Garajau, who’re accused of killing Trupal Patel, was scheduled to start out Nov. 29. Authorities say Villani shot and killed Patel in his storage on Feb. 5 earlier than dumping his physique in Shark River Park in Wall Township.

Simply days earlier than the beginning of jury choice, prosecutors filed a superseding indictment including eleven further fees to the earlier indictment.

Attorneys for each Villani, 21, and Garajau, 20, argued in courtroom final week that the brand new indictment was “prosecutorial vindictiveness” and a calculated transfer by the Monmouth County Prosecutors Workplace to delay the trial and to fill in gaps in its case revealed throughout pre-trial hearings.

Prosecutors stated new bail reform tips, which entitle defendants to a speedy trial, made it difficult for them to comb by means of a considerable amount of proof earlier than the unique indictment.

Each defendants face life in state jail, and the brand new indictment does not change that, assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Melanie Falco stated in courtroom final week.

Decide Thomas Scully Wednesday dismissed the earlier indictment and allowed the brand new one to face because the charging doc, a spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Workplace stated.

The defendants will now need to be arraigned, have detention hearings and restart months of pre-trial hearings on motions to suppress proof.

The brand new indictment claims that Villani and Garajau deliberate to make use of the marijuana obtained from Patel after the killing to promote to others. It additionally reveals that discussions to kill Patel may need began as early as Might 22, 2016.

Patel’s physique was found on Feb. 22 by a county park ranger. In response to police stories, detectives named Villani as a suspect after a good friend informed police Villani referred to as him on Feb. 7 to assist transfer a automotive the pal later acknowledged as belonging to Patel. After the ranger discovered the physique, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Workplace launched a photograph to the general public of Patel’s black Jaguar.

Villani allegedly informed detectives “I did it” after they challenged him when he modified parts of his story throughout an interview, in line with police stories.

On Feb. 25, authorities introduced they arrested Villani, of Ocean Township, and charged with homicide, theft and weapons offenses in reference to the dying of Patel.

Authorities say Villani continued to speak with Garajau whereas in jail, instructing her to “take your time bleaching every thing” and to speak up the bruises Villani needed to again up his self-protection claims.

Garajau, an honors scholar at Brookdale Group School, was then named within the unique indictment handed up…

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