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New Jersey: 5 charged with Indian American's murder

September 18, 2010 12:49 IST

Five juveniles, who were initially arrested and charged following the death of computer scientist Divyendu Sinha of Old Bridge, New Jersey on June 28, were on Friday accused of Sinha's murder. The court also granted the prosecutor's request that they be tried asĀ adults.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J Kaplan announced that the five juveniles would be tried as adult defendants. The Indian American community has been demanding the same since Sinha's murder.

The five defendants, all residents of Old Bridge, were charged with assaulting Sinha's two sons, aged 16 and 12, during the attack on Sinha, who diedĀ  on June 28

The juveniles, whose identities were not disclosed before because of their age, were identified as Cash Q Johnson, Steven K Contreras, Christian M Tinli, Christopher Conway, and Julian C Daley. Tinli, who is now 18 years old, was 17 at the time of the attack and, by law, was initially charged as a juvenile.

The Indian American community in New Jersey has launched a concerted campaign to try the juveniles as adults so they do not get away with minor punishments. The community leaders have met with the township mayor and the police and prosecution several times to bring those allegedly responsible for the crime to justice.

The defendants, charged with murder and two counts of aggravated assault, are expected to appear in the Superior Court next week. A hearing date was not immediately set. The adult charges were filed after Superior Court Judge Jane Cantor, sitting in Family Court in New Brunswick, signed an order permitting the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office to try the juveniles as adults.

The judge set bail in various amounts, ranging from $300,000 to $450,000 for each of the defendants, who are being held at the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center in North Brunswick. The defendants must post the full amount of bail before they can be released.

Bail for Tinli and Conway was set at $450,000 each; bail for Daily was set at $400,000; bail for Contreres, $350,000, and Johnson, $300,000.

At the request of Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet, Judge Cantor ordered that in the event the defendants post bail, they cannot have any contact with the victim's family and cannot have any contact with each other. In addition, they will not have access to the crime scene or the victim's family's home, including the entire Oakwood housing development.

They also would be prohibited from attending any school or school function in Old Bridge, and would remain under house arrest between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. The adult charges were filed as a result of the on-going investigation by Detective Greg Morris of the Old Bridge Police Department and Investigator Paul Miller of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

The investigation began after the police received a call at 11.42 pm on June 25, 2010, and arrived to find that Sinha had been beaten up. He was walking with his wife and two sons on Fela Drive in Old Bridge when the attackers got out of a car and attacked Sinha and his sons. Sinha was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he died on June 28, 2010.

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