Friday, 26 February 2010 00:00
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that a jury has convicted Hicksville resident Harpal Hira of murdering his mother-in-law and stabbing his wife multiple times before leading authorities on a month-long manhunt that stretched from New York to Florida.
Hira was convicted of second degree murder, first and second degree assault, two counts of aggravated criminal contempt, two counts of first degree criminal contempt as well as fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon, third degree assault and third degree menacing. He faces up to 50 years to life in prison when sentenced March 31.
According to Rice, on Aug. 2, 2008, Hira was at the home of his wife, Ritika, attending a party for their twin infant sons. Though the couple was separated and Ritika had taken out an order of protection against her husband, Hira had been invited to the celebration. Rice said that Hira and his wife soon got into an argument, and Ritika’s mother, Meena Kohli, stepped in between the two. Hira grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed Kohli 13 times in the head, back and abdomen, killing her before turning the knife on his wife, stabbing her in the head, torso and arms 11 times before fleeing the scene, Rice said.
Hira was captured after a month-long manhunt during which he was tracked to Florida and then back to New York. Investigators tracking cell phones were able to trace Hira to Queens, where he was arrested. At the time of his arrest, Hira had grown a beard, was wearing a turban, and gave the police a fake name. He was identified by a distinctive scar on his hand.
“Every shred of evidence from this shocking act of violence pointed to Harpal Hira, and he only compounded his guilt by running,” Rice said. “Thanks to this jury’s decision, he will have a very long time to think about his crimes.”
Assistant District Attorney Martin Meaney of the DA’s Major Offense Bureau is handling the case for the District Attorney’s Office. Hira is represented by Michael Dergarabedian, Esq.