Pratik Kumar Patel and his cousin Kalpesh Patel from Tennessee were found guilty on August 13, of trying to murder Pratik’s wife Krupa Patel, after drawing up a $6 million life insurance policy in her name. But when they hired Chris Robinson, their handyman of longstanding, he changed his mind and reported them to the police, the greedy men were arrested two years ago and convicted by a jury on August 13 in a Circuit Court in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
They will be sentenced by Judge David Bragg Oct. 16 but attorneys for the defendants say they will appeal the judgment in the Tennessee Court of Appeals. Assistant District Attorney Sarah Davis told News India Times she anticipated the appeal would be denied. The conspiracy charge is an A felony which means jail for 15 to 25 years for the schemers. “Pretty much every defendant tries an appeal. But that doesn’t change the conviction,” Davis said.
Krupa Patel, who attended the closing arguments, insisted through the years that her husband would not have killed her. “I don’t know how his wife is doing but I felt so bad,” Davis said. “She stayed by him the whole time and he was telling her it was not true even though they pretty much admitted it in court. Yet she kept saying ‘He wouldn’t hurt me. He wouldn’t do it’,” Davis recalled.
Davis said Krupa Patel’s side of the family was in India and she may not have any other support in this country. In dramatic closing hearings reported in Murfreesboro Post, Assistant District Attorney John Zimmerman lined up as evidence, bags of purported money along the jury box banister and asked the jury what price they would put on a woman’s life. “Whatever life is like in northern India, in America the life of every woman matters,” he is quoted saying in court.
Defense attorneys claim irregularities in the investigation and improperly handled evidence are grounds for appeal. “We believe there are a number of issues that are subject to appeal, and we plan to do so,” Defense Attorney Alex Little is quoted saying in the news report. Another defense attorney for the Patel cousins contended there was no hit man in the case and hence no crime. “The commission of the crime was impossible. It was never going to happen,” Defense Attorney Ed Yarbrough is quoted saying.
Robinson testified that he was assigned to go to Krupa and Pratik Patel’s house in Gallatin on Oct. 1, 2013, shoot her and turn the house upside down to make it look like a burglary gone wrong. He also said he had been given $15,000 by Pratik Patel and told to go buy a gun and get rid of it in the river after committing the crime, the Post reported.
In the mix was Pratik’s love interest, Tina Newman, who testified August. 12, that she was romantically tied to Pratik Patel for several years when she worked in his stores and that he often referred to her as his “wife.” She said she did not know about the conspiracy to kill Krupa Patel but that their love relationship got more intense in the days leading up to Pratik Patel’s arrest Sept. 30, 2013. Texts and voice messages exchanged between the two were played in court.