Monthly Archives: April 2012
Posted by vicharak1
This week there are three court dates: April 17, 19 and 20 (Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday).
Next week Trial dates are: April 24, 25, 26, and 27 (Tuesday to Friday.)
Time is from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM with one hour lunch break, usually from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM. If you plan to attend, either arrive by 8:45 AM or 1:15 PM at court room #501. Also keep 10 minutes for security check. Please call me at 732-754-1727 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org , if you are coming.
TV Asia will broadcast “Sinha Family’s Fight for Justice” on its Community Round UP orgiram on Tuesday, April 17 at 10:30 PM ET (7:30 PM PT) and again repeat it on Wednesday, April 18 at 7:30 PM ET.
April 16, 2012
Dear Supporters of Sinha Family and Community Members:
Namaste. As mentioned in the previous update, after a long wait of almost 22 months first trial in Dr. Divyendu Sinha’s murder case started on Friday, April 13 at 11:00 AM. First day ended at 4:00 PM. We had good community support with 20 people filling up two front benches.
The attack on the Sinha family occurred on the night of June 25, 2010 around 11:20 PM. Dr. Sinha died of head injuries on June 28.
Attackers who were indicted by a Grand Jury are: Steven Contreras 18, Cash Q. Johnson, 18, Christian M. Tinli, 19, Christopher Conway, 18, and Julian C. Daley, 17.
While Steven Contreras is being tried separately, trial of the remaining four defendants will tentatively start on July 10.
Dr. Divyendu Sinha (1961-2010)
Case is heard in the Middlesex County Superior Court of Ho. Judge Bradley Ferencz (BF).
For the State: Middlesex County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet (CK).
Defense Attorney: Hassen Abdellah (HA).
State vs. Steven Contreras
Prosecutor File #2010-2581
There were three components of the first day of the trial of Steven Contreras, driver of the car that took the four assailants to and from the scene of murderous attack on Divyendubhai.
Opening Statement by the Middlesex County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet (CK).
Opening Statement by the Defense Attorney, Hassen Abdellah (HA).
Testimony and cross examination of Alkabahen Sinha, wife of late Divyendu Sinha.
Here is a brief summary:
Opening Statement by Christopher Kuberiet (CK):
- Steven Contreras (SC) and his accomplices’ first victim was Anthony Martina who car was chased into a cul-de-sac because he allegedly cut them off on the road.
- SC assisted and allowed the others to attack Dr. Sinha.
- SC heard the screams but neither did ne intervene, nor did he call for help (Police, 911).
- SC neither respects human life nor the rule of law. At the end of this case, you (jury) will find him guilty of homicide.
- The crime occurred in front of 6 Fela Dr., Old Bridge (Note: Sinhas live at 25 Fela Dr.)
- SC made a choice to murder Dr. Sinha.
- SC chose to associate with and co-conspire with the other defendants.
- SC chose to stop his car, chose to allow others to leave the car.
- SC chose to stand by and watch.
- SC chose to not assist the Sinha family.
- SC hindered police investigation.
- SC deleted text messages.
- SC chose to ignore Alka Sinha’s screams for help.
To the Jury: Your job is to look at the facts and find just cause by application of Law, as will be explained by the Judge, Ferencz.
Judge Bradley Ferencz
You are sworn to be fair and just in application of Law to both parties, without bias, prejudice or emotion and beyond reasonable doubt.
Here, Mr. Kuberiet gave short life sketch of Divyendu Sinha since his arrival in USA in 1982.
- Divyendu Sinha went for a walk with his family as many of us do; a walk from which, he never came home.
- SC went to Wendy’s with Daley, Jonson, Tinli and Daley’s girlfriend, Casey Raymond.
- Around 11:00 PM, SC, Daley, Johnson, Tinli and Conway left Wendy’s with SC driving.
- They were allegedly cut off by Anthony Martino, they gave chase but Martino managed to speed away.
- Julian Daley was giving instructions to SC as he continued the chase. They cornered Martino in a cul-de-sac at Press Mill Dr. SC blocked the exit with his car. Still Martino was able to escape. One of the defendants picked up a solar powered light fixture from a nearby lawn and threw at the car. This caused damage worth $2200.
- SC did not go home after this. He did not drop off Julian Daley at his house nearby on Morning side Dr.
- They kept driving. Conway points out the Sinhas.
- SC parks the car and turns lights off.
- Julian Daley, Christian Tinli, Cash Johnson and Christopher Conway walk up behind Sinhas. Tinley taps Divyendu Sinha on his shoulder and says, “I want to ask a question.” As Sinha turns around, he throws firs punch on his right temple.
- They attack Divyendu Sinha and his two sons, Ashish (16 years) and Ravi (12 years.) Then they run to the car and SC drives them off.
- Alka Sinha goes in ambulance with Divyendu to Raritan Bay Hospital. They are there at 12:05 AM.
- Dr. Reddy orders Catscan and decides Divyendu Sinha has cerebral Hemorrhage. Divyendu is transferred to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick.
- Dr. Michelle Tinti in the Emergency room decides that Divyendubhai’s condition is worsening.
- On June 28, Doctor Vincent G. declared Divyendu Sinha brain dead.
- Around same time Martino called Old Bridge police to report the incident with SC and others. Old Bridge police had interviewed SC on June 26.
- Old Bridge Police arrested SC on July 1 at 4:00 PM.
Mr. Kuberiet listed 10 indictments against SC. Some of them are:
- Conspiracy to commit aggravated assault
- Conspiracy to commit riot
- Aggravated assault
- Property Damage
- Hindering apprehension/prosecution of others
- Hindering one’s own apprehension/prosecution
CK then talked about four theories of culpability. These are: Principal, Accomplice (Aiding and Abetting), Co-Conspirator and Co-Conspirator (Offenses not within the scope of Co-Conspiracy but with reasonable and foreseeable natural consequence of the conspiracy.)
CK listed 34 witnesses whom he plans to call. The list includes doctors who treated Divyendu Sinha, Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy, Police officers and detectives, Mrs. Alka Sinha and Divyendubhai and Alkabahen’s sons, Ashish and Ravi.
CK ended his 50 minute statement asking the Jury to keep open mind, to listen to the witnesses, to evaluate witness credibility and come to court prepared to work and bring logic and not bias, bring intellect and not emotions.
Defense Attorney, Hassen Abdellah (HA)’s Opening Statement:
- Kuberiet has blamed SC for the state of mind and conduct of others (4 defendants.)
- Was SC’s specific intent to murder?
- Did this young man even physically touched Divyendu Sinha or Martino? He was behind the wheel.
- Jury’s intent is to be fair and impartial.
- SC did not share state of mind or intention of four defendants. He did not share same criminal purpose. There is no proof whatsoever.
- Weigh police witness’s credibility like any other witness’s.
- Those police officers were not there; they did not know SC’s state of mind.
- SC identified the people in his car.
- Mere presence at the scene of crime is not culpable.
- Weigh quantity vs. quality of the evidence. Look at the totality of the circumstances.
- Pay attention to text messages. How many times is SC mentioned?
- SC is not a murderer. He did not want anyone to engage in the murder.
HA finished his statement in 11 minutes.
Mrs. Alka Sinha on the Witness stand:
Alkabahen was the first witness for the State.
Dr. Divyendu & Mrs. Alka Sinha
Mrs. Alka Sinha testifying- Photo Courtesy Jerry McCrea, The Star Ledger
- Mr. Kuberiet asked at length questions about Alkabahen’s age, education, when married, where did Divyendubhai worked, what he did at his work, his commute time, his time at home, etc. Divyendubhai worked as a manager in imaging division of Siemens in Tarrytown, NY, a 70 miles, one way commute. He would come home around 7:30 PM and spend the time with the family. They had been married for 20 years; Alkabahen holds a M.S. in Computer Science.
- To a question, how would she describe June 25, she said that it was the worst day of her life.
- Next set of questions was about their movement on that fateful night. They left home at 11:00 PM for a walk. CK asked about relative positions of all four members of the family; i.e., whether they were in one line or behind each other, in what group formation, distance between each of them, etc.
- Alkabahen was asked as to what they were taking while on the walk. It was a typical talk about upcoming barbeque and younger son Ravi’s robotics summer class in which he wanted help form his father.
- Then, CK asked Alkabahen to narrate the minutes before the attack, attack and minutes after the attack.
- They were on their return leg, when they heard footsteps following them, which was quite unusual. They decided to walk faster to their home (only a few hundred feet away.) Then one of the assailants taped Divyendubhai on the shoulder and said, “I want to ask you a question.” As Divyendubhai turned around that person (later identified as Christian Tinli) punched him above his right ear. Divyendubhai moved with the force and then all of them started throwing punches and kicking. They punched Ashish and Ravi and went around taking turns. Alkabahen started screaming for help. By now Divyendubhai was lying on the grass at 6 Fela Dr. trying to protect his head with his forearm. He asked them why they were beating him. Suddenly the attackers realized that the family they had attacked was neighbors to a fried of theirs. So they all ran to a dark color car (that of SC) which was parked at the corner of Fela and Nathan. There was joy of accomplishment as they ran towards the car.
- Alkabahen and Ashish supported Divyendubhai as they wanted to reach their home but after only a few steps, Divyendubhai was limping on the left side and could not walk further; Ravi was complaining of dizziness. Alkabahen set down on the curb at the corner of Fela and Raven with Divyendubhai’s head in her lap. He was complaining that his head was hurting and he asked Alkabahen to take him home. Ashish, the elder son called their next door neighbor’s elder son, Brian Sousso, and 911. Brian came and called a neighborhood doctor, Jamey Vuy (name not clear). Dr. J. brought water and juice for Divyendubhai but he could not drink. Dr. J. put his jacket around Divyendubhai to keep him warm.
- Then the police and ambulance came. They decided to take Divyendubhai to Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge which was the nearest facility. Alkabahen arranged for Ravi to be taken care of by wife of Dr. J. and she asked Brian to take Ashish to a hospital for treatment of cuts and bruises on his face. Alkabahen accompanied Divyendubhai to the hospital.
- Time elapsed between the attack and reaching hospital was about 20 minutes. At the hospital, initially Divyendubhai was able to describe the attack, but soon his response time started getting longer. He could not move his limbs on the left and then on the right upon doctor’s instructions. His speech was not clear. Raritan Bay Medical Center does not have a trauma center so Divyendubhai was transferred to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital (RWJ) in New Brunswick around 3:00/3:30 AM. Alkabahen was waiting outside in the emergency room for 30 to 45 minutes while Divyendubhai was inside. When she saw him, he could not communicate and he could not see her. He was (close to) brain dead. He was transferred to ICU room.
- To a question from Mr. Kuberiet, Alkabahen said that Divyendubhai never left RWJ and he never came back to his home from that walk.
- While at the hospital for three days (Divyendubhai was declared brain dead on June 28 early morning.). Alkabahen did speak to Detective Morris and Paul Miller. Alkabahen did not give a statement to the police until July 10, 2010 as she was not in a position to do so.
- To another question, she replied that they had never known the assailants and that there was no bad blood between them and her family. She also said that they did not fight back when the guys attacked them.
- After her deposition, Mr. Kuberiet showed her several aerial photos of the crime scene and neighborhood which she identified and signed so that these could be introduced as exhibits in the trial.
- Defense Attorney HA asked only a couple of questions mainly insisting that the photos she had identified were taken in day light (presumably to stress that the crime took place at night.)
Alkabahen was on the stand for 90 minutes. She faced the reliving of the painful and horrendous memory with courage and bravery. She was composed most of the time, though she did breakdown a couple of times, which is but natural. The Judge called it a day at the end of Alkabahen’s testimony.
We know that the whole society, Indian Americans as well as Americans are with her in her quest for justice. Please also visit our web site www.divyendusinha.com; you may also leave your thoughts there.
You may also see newspaper reports at: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/04/tearful_widow_of_old_bridge_ma.html and
Please forward this to your contacts and encourage them to attend the trial.
Gaurang G. Vaishnav
Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA)
Indian American Defense League (IADL)
Court Address, Directions and Parking Information:
Middlesex County Superior Court
56 Paterson Street, Fifth Floor (Judge Ferencz’s Court Room)
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-2014
The court is on the fifth floor. Look for the Judge Bradley Ferencz’s court room (Go to the Right from the elevator).
Paid Parking (very reasonable rates) is available at several locations.
Ferren Deck on Church Street is most convenient, as you can access the court house by following signs (third floor) from the parking deck itself.
For GPS and MapQuest directions to Ferren Deck, use
180 Church Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901 or click here.
(If you are coming off Rte. 18 and going South on Rte. 27, Turn left at light for Nelson St., then first right on Church St. Go through one traffic light and one stop sign and turn right into Ferren Deck parking. Access to the Court House is from the third floor with clear signage.)
On street parking with meters is available but very difficult to find. For free on street parking, one has to walk several blocks; it is generally available on side streets off Livingston Ave., west of Suydam street (15-20 minutes walk).
If you care coming by train (NJ transit), it is only five minute walk from the New Brunswick station. (Across Rte. 27/French St., enter Feren Mall and go to third floor, follow signs for Middlesex Superior Court.)
Disclaimer: This is a synopsis of court hearing based on notes taken by me. Not all communications are captured and while I attempt to be as accurate as possible, there may be legal points that could have been missed or misinterpreted.- Gaurang
Dr. Divyendu Sinha Murder Trial to start in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Jersey Today- Appeal for Community Support
Posted by vicharak1
Dear Supporters of Sinha Family and Community Members:
Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA)
Indian American Defense League (IADL)
Courtesy: Star Ledger
Widow of Old Bridge beating victim plans to testify
Published: Sunday, April 08, 2012, 11:00 AM Updated: Sunday, April 08, 2012, 2:41 PM
OLD BRIDGE — When asked about her husband of 20 years, she cries.
“I relied on him to do everything,” she said.
And now, with two sons to raise, and two emotional trials looming, she misses him even more.
While on a stroll with his family late on a warm June night in Old Bridge in 2010, Divyendu Sinha, a 49-year-old computer scientist, was attacked near his Fela Drive home by five local teenagers in a night of senseless “wilding,” authorities say.
His wife and children watched in horror as four of the teens assaulted Sinha with their fists and feet, prosecutors said. The teens also are charged with attacking one of Sinha’s sons.
Before the night ended, Sinha was on life support at a New Brunswick hospital — while the teens bragged about the attack in text messages, investigators said. As Sinha fought for his life, the teens were arrested and charged with the beating. When he died four days later, the charges were upgraded to murder.
One of those teens, Steven Contreras goes on trial Tuesday — the first of two trials in the case.
Until now, Alka Sinha — who will testify for the prosecution — had not granted any interviews since the days immediately following the attack.
Sitting in her family room, next to a picture of her husband on an 8-foot poster that was displayed during his memorial service, Alka Sinha, 47, said the past 22 months have been a nightmare. She has attended every court hearing involving the five teenagers — Contreras, Cash Johnson, Julian Daley, Chris Conway and Christian Tinli. She wants justice for her husband.
“What I have lost, I will never be able to gain that again,” she said. “The void I have and my children have, it will always be there. Maybe one day, whatever is left in my life, I can move on with that.”
In the days after the attack, friends told her to take it “one day at a time,” Sinha said, “and I am following that advice, but it is very hard. There are a lot of decisions to make, decisions about the children, about finances, about the house.
“We made big decisions together, but he handled even the small things,” she said.
Sinha said her sons, Aashish, 18, and Ravi, 14, are pillars of support for her. One of the boys was injured in the beating, but not seriously, authorities said.
“They are very strong and they support me when I grow weak,” she said. “I’m glad they are very focused on their education. It is what their father wanted.”
When asked to describe her husband, Sinha began to cry quietly. Eventually, the words came out, slowly at first, but then more easily.
“He was the most wonderful person, such a loving and caring husband and father,” she said.
They moved to their Old Bridge neighborhood 18 years ago “because it was a nice, quiet, diverse neighborhood.”
“Before the incident, I never thought it could happen in this neighborhood,” Sinha said. “We felt secure and safe.”
She will be a witness at this week’s trial and at the second trial of the other four teenagers, scheduled for July 10. She said simply, “I am looking to get justice.”
She said she has drawn strength from her neighbors and members of the Old Bridge community who have helped her since “minutes after the incident.”
“From the little things to the biggest thing, they are always there for me,” she said.
Gil Derose, who lives across the street on Fela Drive, and Nick Ricciardi, who lives down the road, said they plan on attending the trial in New Brunswick before Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz. Neither witnessed the attack on their neighbor.
Derose said his sons knew of the five teenagers charged with the murder, four of whom were star athletes at Old Bridge High School.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “When we found out who (was arrested), I couldn’t believe they were high school kids here, local kids who were athletes.”
Ricciardi said his initial reaction to the attack and Divendyu Sinha’s death was “sadness for Alka and the boys and anger that these were neighborhood kids” who were arrested and charged.
Contreras is being tried separately because he implicated the other four in a statement he gave to investigators within days of the attack. Authorities said Contreras, who was 17 at the time, told investigators that, after a night of drinking that included several bottles of malt liquor, they went cruising, looking for someone to fight. Contreras denied he had been drinking.
Their last stop of the night was Fela Drive, where one of the teens saw what he thought were kids about 11:25 p.m. The “kids” turned out to be Sinha and his family.
Contreras told investigators Conway, Johnson, Daley and Tinli got out of the car and went after the group. Seconds after the attack, the four came running back and told him to leave. Contreras said he never saw the Sinha family, because he had stayed near the car.
The five teens are charged with murder and conspiracy in connection with Sinha’s death. They are also charged with assaulting a motorist a short time before the attack on Sinha.
Courtesy: Home News Tribune
Jury selection begins this week in trial of 1 of 5 accused in beating death of Old Bridge man
MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Alka Sinha said her life, and the life of her family, has been turned “upside down” since her husband was fatally beaten by a group of five teenagers as the family took an evening stroll near their Old Bridge home nearly two years ago.
Jury selection will begin on Tuesday in Superior Court, New Brunswick, in the trial of one of those defendants, Steven K. Contreras, charged with murdering Divyendu Sinha, a 49-year-old computer scientist whose two sons, ages 16 and 12 at the time, also were assaulted.
Contreras, who will turn 19 on April 21, is being tried separately because of statements he made to authorities during the investigation that implicated the other four defendants, who are scheduled to stand trial for murder on July 10.
Prosecutors said Sinha was walking outside his home on Fela Drive, near Route 9, on June 25, 2010, when the group of Old Bridge High School students pulled up in a car and beat him and his sons. Alka was not harmed in the incident, but Sinha died three days later from a head injury suffered during the assault. Authorities said no weapons were used.
“He was a wonderful person to his family, to friends — a wonderful father and actually a mentor to our kids,” Alka said on Friday. “We used to do things together as a family. We used to wait for him come back from work and do different things, whether it was general discussion on current affairs or going to see something with the children. Those things are not there anymore.
“You cannot imagine how it has affected our children.”
The five defendants also are charged with assaulting Anthony Martino, 18, of Old Bridge, a motorist who was attacked minutes before the assault on Sinha and his sons.
Steven K. Contreras
Prosecutors severed Contreras’ trial from the other four defendants because, during the trial, his statements might contain information about the other -defendants who then would have a right to call Contreras as a witness to contradict the statements or cross-examine him. That would be in direct conflict with Contreras’ Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Contreras’ lawyer, Hassen Abdellah, could not immediately be reached for comment.
An earlier Family Court decision allowed the five defendants to be tried as adults, and each faces 30 years to life if convicted of murder.
“I want justice,” Alka said. “We live in a society where we have a justice system that works. I believe in our justice system and I’m looking forward to getting justice. We have gotten a lot of support from all around — in that way I’m blessed. I’m just looking forward to having the similar kind of support for the upcoming days.”
Nikhil Muzumdar said his family was very close with the Sinhas, whose children, he said, were about the same age as his. The families vacationed together.
“We’re close family friends, and this was a real loss for us,” Muzumdar said. “He was a real kind and very caring man, and he always wanted to help others in everything that he did. He helped his students — they have a lot of good things to say about him and have shown a lot of support to Mrs. Sinha.”
Alka said her husband had started teaching computer science at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken and also taught at the College of Staten Island in the City University of New York (CUNY). Divyendu, who was raised in Patna, India, according towww.divyendusinha.com, held doctorates in philosophy and computer science.
Authorities said the 11-count grand jury indictment was handed up following an investigation that revealed no evidence that the attack on Martino, the attack on Sinha and his family, or the subsequent plan to assault another victim, was motivated by the victims’ race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ethnicity, as required by New Jersey’s Bias Intimidation Law.
In addition to murder, the grand jury charged the five defendants with various counts of aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. Additionally, the grand jury accused the defendants of riot and a related count of conspiracy, contending they acted as a group to commit crimes.
The five also were charged with two counts of hindering for trying to protect themselves and each other from prosecution by concealing evidence or misrepresenting facts about the attacks.
Along with the assault charges, the grand jury also charged the defendants with criminal mischief for damaging the car that was being driven by Martino.
Judge Bradley J. Ferencz will preside over Contreras’ trial.
“What happened was a real tragedy and I wouldn’t wish it to happen to even our worst enemy,” Muzumdar said. “It really completely destroyed a lot of things here in our day-to-day lives and we miss him a lot.”