Raquel Garajau sentenced to 33 years in prison in connection to murder of Trupal Patel


Raquel Garajau, 21, of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, was sentenced to 33 years in prison for her role in the death of Indian American Trupal Patel in 2017, according to an NJ.com report.

In September, a jury had found Garajau guilty of first-degree felony murder, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit theft of marijuana, theft of marijuana, conspiracy to commit theft of cash, theft of cash, conspiracy to possess a weapon for an unlawful purpose, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, tampering with physical evidence, hindering the apprehension of oneself, hindering the apprehension of another and tampering with a witness, in connection to Patel’s death, according to a Jersey Shore Online report.

Garajau is the former girlfriend of Joseph Villani, who pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery, and disturbing human remains and witness tampering in the death of Indian American Trupal Patel, last week, according to an earlier News India Times report.

On February 6, 2017, Villani and Garajau had planned to meet Patel to steal his marijuana, after they learned how much cash he had on him.

According to police documents, Villani had established a relationship with Patel before he had purchased marijuana from him.

During his trial last week, Villani 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, News India Times reported earlier.

Villani then admitted to shooting Patel three times with the gun he retrieved from behind the door.

Though Garajau maintained her innocence saying that she had no knowledge of Villani’s plans, evidence presented during her trial shows that she continued texting Villani after Patel’s death telling him to “clean the bullets” and “take your time bleaching everything,” Jersey 101.5 reported.

A few other texts between the two read “Take that bag of stuff out cause I touched his phone” and “We will throw that stuff in the ocean,” until Villani told her “Babe you need to move that car it’s too important. Like ASAP. People will start noticing he’s not answering.”

The couple then stole Patel’s Movado watch, money and an unspecified amount of marijuana, which he and Garajau then sold.

Villani asked two of his friends to ditch Patel’s black Jaguar in nearby Asbury Park and to dump his body in Shark River Park, which was found on February 22, 2017, according to an earlier News India Times report.

Villani is will face up to 40 years in state prison at his sentencing on March 21, and will have to pay approximately $22,000 in funeral costs for Patel.



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