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Good Samaritan slay suspects will not face death sentence

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Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes will not seek the death penalty for the two people charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Rupinder Singh, the good Samaritan from Richmond Hill shot to death in July after offering a ride to strangers.

James Johnson of Atlanta pleaded guilty at a hearing last Thursday to charges of first- and second-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery, thus avoiding the death penalty. He will be sentenced to two terms of 75 years to life in prison Wednesday, DA spokesman Orlando Rivera said.

At a hearing Monday, the district attorney’s office announced it would not seek the death penalty against Darshen Kingsberry, Johnson’s wife, who faces the same charges as Johnson. She has yet to enter a plea, Rivera said.

Singh was shot to death early on the morning of July 20 after he offered a ride to five people whose car appeared to have broken down at a gas station along the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. He was forced to drive his own vehicle to Lincoln Terrace Park, where he was killed and his car stolen.

Johnson admitted to pulling the trigger, but Kingsberry and Jack Govan, another defendant from Brooklyn, allegedly participated in the crime, as well, said Jerry Schmetterer, another spokesman for the Brooklyn DA.

Govan will be tried on charges of second-degree murder, Schmetterer said.

Singh, a Richmond Hill resident who emigrated from India, graduated from St. John’s University with a B.S. degree in computer science in January 2001 as a member of the Class of 2000, university spokesman Jody Fisher said.

“He was dragged out of the car. We believe that he pled for his life, he pled for mercy,” Chief of Detectives William Allee said at the time. “This was a monstrous act that was committed against a good Samaritan, someone who was trying to help those people out.”

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

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