Judge finds probable cause against double murder suspect
Tue, 25 Oct 2011 18:27:38 GMT —
Florence County Magistrate Belinda Timmons ruled during a preliminary hearing Tuesday there is probable cause against Hiralkumar Gopaldas, accused in the murders of his wife and mother-in-law.
In June, Florence County deputies arrested Gopaldas for the murders of his wife, Punam Gopaldas, and her mother, Vinaben Patel. They were found stabbed to death at Punam Gopaldas' home at the Country Club of South Carolina.
Investigators say the Gopaldas' were in the middle of a divorce.
Deputies say Punam's two-year-old son was at the home when his mother and grandmother were killed. The child was not hurt.
Detectives arrested Hiralkumar Gopaldas a few days after the killings. Investigators say he was the last person to see the women alive and he had motive for the killings because of the divorce. Detectives say a neighbor saw Gopaldas' drop off his son at his wife's home around the time of the killings. Investigators say another neighbor saw him leave the home in his car at a high rate of speed.
Gopaldas' attorney, Rosemary Parham, says there is no evidence against her client. During the hearing, Parham questioned the lead investigator about evidence in the case. She says there was unknown male DNA found on one of the victims that was not her client's. Parham got the investigator to admit that the crime scene was especially bloody, but forensic investigators found no blood in Gopaldas' car.
Solicitor Ed Clements fired back saying the unknown male DNA was a very small amount found on the victim's sleeve and DNA experts aren't sure how long it could have been there. Clements says it could have been there for weeks. He argued there is no evidence that exonerates Gopaldas. He told the judge the investigation continues.
No word on when the grand jury will meet to discuss this case.