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Criminal homicide charges filed in connection to Ashokkumar Patel murder

Forensic pathologist says Patel’s cause of death was single gunshot wound to the head and neck area. (iStock Image)

By: Sattwik Biswal

Stefanie J. Salavantis, district attorney of Luzerne County, pressed criminal charges against Jafet Rodriguez for the murder of Ashokkumar Patel, which happened on December 12, 2020 at Craig’s Food Mart in Hazleton.

In addition to an open-count of criminal homicide Rodriguez was also charged with one count each of robbery, burglary and theft.

On the night of December 12, around 9PM, Patel working as a clerk at Craig’s Food mart, was mopping the floor when Rodriguez entered the store dressed in a red Nike sweatshirt. He also wore black gloves, a black face mask printed with a white smiling teeth design, and had his hood pulled up over his head.

Immediately after entering the store, he shoved Patel to a closet and fired a round in his head and neck area. Patel collapsed and the attacker grabbed loose cash and a bank deposit bag before leaving the store.

However, Patel did not die on the spot, as he managed to drag himself to the counter and reached out for his cellphone and dialed 911 for help. But unfortunately because of the gunshot he bled out before providing any details.

The forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on December 14, said the cause of death was single gunshot wound to the head and neck area and was a case of homicide.

District attorney Salavantis added that Rodriguez’s arrest for murder resulted from diligent and collaborative work among multiple law enforcement agencies and the prosecutors and detectives of the DA’s Office.

“All murders are senseless acts of violence but in all of my years as district attorney, the murder of Ashokkumar Patel struck a chord with myself, my staff, the police, and the community like few others have,” said Salavantis.

“On the night he was killed, Mr. Patel did not even have time to resist or call for help before he was shot and left for dead. In his last few moments, he fought for his life the only way he could—crawling for his cell phone and dialing 911—which was ultimately a futile effort,” she added.

Eastern Eye

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