Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office

                                 25 Kirkpatrick Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901 (732) 745-3300

 

                                *News Release*         Date: July 15, 2010

 
 

       

 

 

 

 

 

Prosecutor will seek to try teens as adults in Old Bridge homicide

         

 

Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced today that his office will file a motion with a Family Court judge seeking a waiver to try five juveniles, charged with the murder of Dr. Divyendu Sinha, as adults.

 

The decision was made following a thorough and comprehensive investigation to establish sufficient evidence and justification under the law to seek the waiver.

 

Due to the ethics rules by which the prosecution is bound, as well as the rights of the juveniles charged, this office is prohibited from publicly detailing the reasons and justifications in support of the waiver.

 

Procedurally, however, applicable New Jersey law requires that this office file the waiver application with the Superior Court, Family Part.

 

At a closed juvenile court hearing which has yet to be scheduled, the prosecution will be required to show that the juveniles are at least 16 years of age and that there is probable cause for the signing of murder complaints, which must be accompanied by a statement of reasons.

 

If these elements are established, the Superior Court, Family Part judge hearing the case is required to issue an order waiving the juveniles to adult court. The motion will be filed by this office within the next seven days.

 

          The maximum exposure in the juvenile court for murder is 20 years, while the maximum exposure in the adult court for murder is 30 years to life.

 

          This investigation initially focused on ascertaining and arresting those responsible for Dr. Sinha’s attack. While the investigation is still active and on-going, based on the facts currently known, it is believed that all those responsible have been identified and arrested and no additional arrests are contemplated at this time.

 

          With the arrest of the responsible parties, the on-going investigation continues to focus on the motives leading to the assault on Dr. Sinha and his family.

 

In this process, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office remains mindful of the societal aim, as expressed in the state’s bias crime statute, to provide enhanced protection to racial, ethnic and religious minorities.

 

Therefore, the issue of whether or not this crime falls within the ambit of a bias crime will be rigorously investigated and scrutinized.

 

Investigators continue to work to identify the existence of any direct or circumstantial evidence that would either support or negate the classification of this tragedy as a bias crime. Therefore, the investigation is actively focused on whether the parties responsible for Dr. Sinha’s death knew of his race or ethnicity when they exited their car to attack him, whether they targeted him or his family because of their race or ethnicity, or whether the attack on Dr. Sinha and his family was a continuation of the violent behavior exhibited by these same juveniles just minutes before the attack, when they assaulted a Caucasian motorist.

 

What these juveniles did and said immediately prior to the attack, during the attack and after the attack, have not yet been fully determined.  After all available facts have been evaluated, this office will announce whether additional charges are appropriate.

 

Separate and apart from this office’s responsibility to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the death of Dr. Sinha, it is also the office’s responsibility to ensure the safety and quality of life for all residents of Middlesex County.

 

Accordingly, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has investigators dedicated to providing education and training to the public, senior citizens, civic groups and schools.

 

The investigators, assigned to the Middlesex Outreach and Education (MORE) unit, have and will continue to provide a countywide awareness education program aimed at offering all residents information as to what constitutes a bias crime, their rights in the event they believe they have been victimized, and what they can expect from the police in the event they are a victim of a bias crime.  The unit may be reached at (732) 225-0750.

 

By way of background, and as previously reported, Dr. Sinha, a 49-year-old resident of Fela Drive in Old Bridge, was attacked on June 25, 2010, at 11:42 p.m. as he was walking in his neighborhood with his wife and two minor children.

 

As a result of the injuries sustained in that attack, Dr. Sinha was pronounced dead at 4:42 a.m. on June 28, 2010.  Following an autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office, it was determined that Dr. Sinha died as a result of blunt force trauma to his head. It is not alleged that any weapons were used in the assault.

 

An immediate and intensive investigation was commenced by the Old Bridge Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which quickly apprehended three 17-year-old Old Bridge males on June 26, 2010. They subsequently were charged with the murder of Dr. Sinha.

 

The continuing investigation resulted in the arrest of two additional Old Bridge males, aged 16 and 17, on July 1, 2010. They also were charged with the murder of Dr. Sinha.

 

          All five have been detained at the Middlesex County Juvenile Detention Center since the date of their arrests.

 

          As was previously reported, these same five juveniles have also been charged with assaulting the Caucasian motorist minutes before the attack on Dr. Sinha and his family.

 

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Greg Morris of the Old Bridge Police Department at (732) 721-5600, or Investigator Paul Miller of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4466.

 

The charges against the juveniles are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until adjudicated delinquent in Family Court, or proven guilty in Superior Court.