AP NEWS

Man gets 40-year term in fatal shooting of marijuana dealer

April 5, 2019

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man has been sentenced for the fatal shooting of a marijuana dealer, a crime his girlfriend was also convicted of committing.

Joseph Villani received a 40-year sentence Thursday. He had pleaded guilty in January to aggravated manslaughter in the February 2017 death of Trupal Patel, whose body was found in Shark River Park in Wall Township.

A jury convicted the 22-year-old Villani’s girlfriend, Raquel Garajau, of felony murder last September. The former community college honors student received a 33-year sentence in January.

Villani had initially insisted Garajau played no role in the killing. But he later said she helped plan the robbery of Patel and discussed cleaning up the crime scene afterward.