Carteret Man Convicted Of Felony Murder; Arson In Valentine’s Day Killing

(Photo credit: bloomsberries)

(Photo credit: bloomsberries)

NEW BRUNSWICK — A Carteret man was convicted today of strangling and robbing a woman before setting fire to her home more than two years ago, Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced.

Harpal Singh, 48,  was found guilty of felony murder, aggravated manslaughter, robbery, aggravated arson and hindering his apprehension in the death on Feb. 14, 2011 of Balwinder Kaur, 44, of Jansen Avenue in the Avenel section of Woodbridge.

A jury deliberated in New Brunswick for about 17 hours over three days before finding Singh guilty. A life prison term could be imposed against Singh when he is sentenced on Dec. 6 by Superior Court Judge Diane Pincus.

During a trial that began on Sept. 10, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Scott LaMountain, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Surman, and Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Neil Casey presented evidence and testimony showing the defendant broke into the victim’s home and strangled her.

During the break-in, Singh stole cash and jewelry and then set fire to the victim’s house to conceal the crime before fleeing.

An investigation by Detective Shayne Bodnar of the Woodbridge Police Department and Investigator Michael Daniewicz of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office led to the arrest of Singh, who was apprehended outside his home on March 11, 2011.

The investigation began when a passerby saw flames coming from the victim’s home and called police. Once inside the burning building, firefighters discovered the victim and brought her outside. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office subsequently determined Ms. Kaur had been strangled.

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