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Man in US sentenced to 12 yrs in jail over Indian's death

April 05, 2014 21:37 IST

A 20-year-old man in the United States has been sentenced to over 12 years in prison for his role in the beating to death of an Indian-origin computer scientist in 2010.

Steven Contreras was sentenced by state superior court judge Bradley Ferencz in New Brunswick for his role in the death of Divyendu Sinha, 49. Contreras was among a group of teenagers who had been charged in connection with the death of Sinha, who was attacked as he and his wife Alka and two sons were out for a late night walk on June 25, 2010, near their home.

The group punched Sinha in the head and he died three days later at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. His two sons had minor injuries and his wife was not hurt.

Ferencz, while sentencing Contreras, was quoted as saying by 'My Central Jersey' website that "This is a tragedy, a tragedy for the Sinha family and the families involved in this. It is also criminal."

"You were the only sober one that night. You were in control. You made the decisions," the judge said. Contreras, who had been driving the car in which the teens were travelling, apologised to the Sinha family, the court, the prosecution and his family.

"On June 25, 2010, I created the greatest mistake I've ever committed in my life," Contreras was quoted as saying. "There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about it," he said. After the sentencing, Middlesex county first assistant prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet said, "On June 25, 2010, Steven Contreras, along with his co-defendants, perpetuated a heinous crime against the Sinha family and the OldBridge community."

Thereafter, he was given an opportunity to assist the prosecution, to bring justice to the Sinha family and favourably resolve his criminal charges. Contreras squandered that opportunity, Kuberiet said.

"The state is extremely pleased with the judge's decision, and the message should go forth when you attempt to manipulate the system or perpetrate a fraud on the court your conduct will be met with the severest of penalties," he said.

Image: Divyendu Sinha. Photo courtesy: divyendusinha.com

Yoshita Singh in New York
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