Home invasion suspect charged with murder

September 13, 2013, 6:17 am


LITCHFIELD, Conn. (AP) — Authorities say a Warren man facing drug trafficking charges last summer plotted a robbery of drug proceeds from a Sharon man and instead committed murder.

Niraj Patel was ordered held on $1.8 million bond in Bantam Superior Court on Thursday. He is accused in the felony murder of Lucas Vitalis on Aug. 6, 2012, and of orchestrating the home invasion that led to the killing.

The Republican-American reports ( ) that the 26-year-old Patel and two others — his 25-year-old cousin Hiral Patel and 27-year-old Michael Calabrese — arrived at the Vitalis home as part of a drug transaction.

Hiral Patel's lawyer, Leonard Crone, said the allegations amount to one of the weakest murder cases in which he's been involved. He said there is no forensic evidence and called cellphone records junk science.

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Information from: Republican-American,

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