Conviction for Indian American man who planned wife’s murder upheld

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The conviction of Indian American Shanker Patel, who planned his wife Usha’s murder in their San Dimas home in 1991, has been upheld by the state of California.

According to a Daily Bulletin report, the three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal found that Patel’s behavior on the day his wife was stabbed to death, “strongly supported the inference he was attempting to create an alibi. Although most of the evidence against defendant was circumstantial, it was ample,” the panel’s 43-page ruling says.

Patel was convicted of first-degree murder in January 2017 while jurors also found the special circumstance allegation of murder, to be true.

According to the Daily Bulletin report, on November 19, 1991, Patel’s wife, a lawyer, was on her way to pick up their 7-year-old daughter from school when she was attacked in the garage of the couple’s home.

The 29-year-old’s body was bound and found in the trunk of her car, which had been driven to a nearby school.

Authorities said she had suffered more than 20 stab wounds, mostly in the chest and neck area.

In 2010, a renewed investigation into the cold case revealed DNA inside a pair of gloves that were discovered on the front passenger seat of the victim’s car, according to authorities.

The DNA was linked to Miguel Angel Garcia, who subsequently pleaded no contest to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison in May 2013.

Investigators then determined that Patel had paid a middleman $7,500 to organize his wife’s killing, then provided instructions for when he should came and kill his wife.

According to testimony presented at his trial, Patel said that he was having an affair before his wife’s killing and his wife was planning to leave him after she passed the California bar exam.

Patel was charged in 2013 with his wife’s murder and is serving a life prison term without the possibility of parole.

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