Joseph Villani has pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery, disturbing human remains and witness tampering in the death of Indian American Trupal Patel, and will face up to 40 years in state prison at his sentencing on March 21.
Villani will also have to pay approximately $22,000 in funeral costs for Patel, according to an NJ.com report.
On Feb. 22, 2017, Patel’s body was found in Shark River Park in Wall Township, New Jersey.
Villani admitted to creating a plot in which he had told his former girlfriend Raquel Garajau to meet Patel to steal his marijuana on Feb. 6, 2017.
Villani and Garajau had established a relationship with Patel only after learning how much cash he had on him, according to an indictment and Villani had known Patel before he had purchased marijuana from him, police documents say.
According to Patch report, Villani also admitted to placing a semi-automatic rifle outside of the door leading to his home in case there was a physical altercation and when a fight broke out between the two, Villani admitted to shooting Patel three times with the gun he retrieved from behind the door.
Villani then stole Patel’s Movado watch, money and an unspecified amount of marijuana, which he and Garajau then sold.
Villani then asked two of his friends to ditch Patel’s black Jaguar in nearby Asbury Park and to dump his body in Shark River Park, the Asbury Park Press reported.
Garajau was also found guilty on murder charges and other offenses, a few months ago.