WEST CHESTER, Ohio (AP) — A judge has denied a defense motion to suppress statements made by a man later charged in the shooting deaths of four members of his family, including his wife, in their Ohio apartment last year.
Attorneys for Gurpreet Singh, 38, had argued that his constitutional rights were violated when police detained and questioned him before releasing him the following morning. He was later indicted on four counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of his wife, her parents and her aunt in West Chester in April 2019.
Judge Gregory Howard denied the motion last week, saying he didn’t see “significant restraint” on the movement of the defendant, who wasn’t handcuffed, placed in a locked holding cell or “detained for an unreasonable amount of time,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Police agreed with defense attorneys that Singh wasn’t free to leave, not because he was a suspect but because he was “an important witness, in fact, at that time, the only witness to what may have happened,” Howard wrote.
“An arrest does not occur every time an individual is placed in the back of a police cruiser, even if the suspect in the police cruiser is not free to leave,” the judge wrote. “This is true when the individual is being requested to stay while relevant facts are being ascertained.”
Singh, 38, was arrested in July of last year and is accused of shooting his wife Shalinderjit Kaur, 39, his father-in-law Hakikat Singh, 59, his mother-in-law Parmjit Kaur, 62, and her sister Amarjit, 58. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. He has pleaded not guilty. His trial is now scheduled to begin in May.