Mother and son plead not guilty to killing dad

Parth Arunkumar Ingle, 22, leaves his arraignment in Delaware County on Dec. 1, 2008.
Parth Arunkumar Ingle, 22, leaves his arraignment in Delaware County on Dec. 1, 2008. (DAVE SCHLOTT / For the Daily News, file)
Posted: April 12, 2012

In a murder case that legal experts describe as rare, and perhaps unprecedented, a mother and son pleaded not guilty Thursday to killing the family patriarch whose stabbed, severely beaten, and mutilated body was found in the family home four years ago.

After a brief arraignment in which the defendants appeared separately, Delaware County Court Judge Barry C. Dozor set a pretrial hearing for May 2 for Bhavnaben Ingle, 52, and Parth Ingle, 25.

Investigators allege that they killed Arunkuman Ingle, 55, a Boeing engineer, to avenge his marital infidelity and to reap gains from his insurance policies.

Through his attorneys, John E. Kusturiss Jr. and James P. Hickey 3d, Parth Ingle entered not-guilty pleas to 16 counts that included first-degree murder and conspiracy.

His mother pleaded not-guilty to 12 similar counts through her attorney, Scott Galloway.

National legal experts said they could not recall another murder case involving both patricide, the killing of a biological parent, and mariticide, the killing of a spouse, that matched the circumstances of this one.

It has involved high-tech spying, an Internet affair, and an elaborate plan by the victim to fake his own death and moved to India with his mistress, according to court records.

Ingle's savagely beaten body was found at his home in the Glen Riddle section of Middletown Township on the afternoon of Jan. 21, 2008. His testicles had been mutilated.

The prosecution acknowledges that its case is circumstantial. No weapons, including a pipe wrench that investigators allege was used in the beating, were recovered, and no evidence firmly placed either defendant at the scene.

However, the prosecution has a "mountain" of evidence, according to Assistant District Attorney Thomas F. Lawrie. He has argued that the family history points to a clear motive. Parth Ingle planted spyware on his father's computer to secretly record his key strokes, and ascertained that his father, a Boeing engineer, was having an affair with a Russian woman he had met on the Internet, according to court records.

The prosecution contends that cellphone records indicate Parth Ingle was in the vicinity of the house the night of Jan. 20, 2008, when the attack could have been occurred.

The precise time of the killing hasn't been established.

Cellphone records increasingly are becoming a part of criminal trials, said Jack King, communications director with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

He added, however, that in cases where the records have been challenged, judges have tightened admissibility guidelines.

Kusturiss raised questions about the cellphone records during last month's lengthy preliminary hearing, but it was uncertain how he might challenge them during a trial.

The judge has imposed a strict gag order in the case.


Contact Anthony R. Wood at 610-761-8423 or twood@phillynews.com

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