Thursday, April 7, 2011

Aftermath Of Friend's Murder

Last week I received a call from someone who requested anonymity, and I'll call him Charlie.  He had seen my post of April 18, 2008 about the murder of my childhood friend Aasha Chhabra and her husband Brij in Troy, Michigan.  He wanted to update me with news about their killers so as to afford closure to the family.  (We haven't got in touch with the Thadani's young daughter, their only child, though.)

The murders had been arranged by Narayan Thadani who had betrayed Aasha's complete trust in him by selling her landed property in India and stealing the proceeds of over $2 million.  He was about to lose it all in a court case and hired two men from El Salvadore for the killings.  Narayan pleaded guilty and he as well as the two hit men all received life terms in prison in October 2010 while another accomplice got 30 years after turning state's evidence.

Charlie himself is an ex-convict who met Narayan in the Houston prison where he is now serving his sentence.  Charlie called Narayan an evil and scary person who while awaiting trial almost nonchalantly sought help from fellow inmates to hire a hit man to kill the FBI agent who was investigating his case.  Narayan apparently bore that agent a grudge and also thought the killing would remove a vital prosecution witness and help his court defense.  His fellow prisoners instead tipped off the authorities.  He was put in touch with an undercover FBI agent posing as a contract killer, and caught.

Charlie sent me the docket containing the charges for the murders of the Chhabras for which Narayan pleaded guilty, as well as for attempted murder of the FBI agent, which didn't really carry any additional downside as Narayan will spend the rest of his life behind bars anyway.

While it's good that Narayan and the three others got caught and punished, I'm still bothered by our justice system coddling perpetrators of such terrible crimes, as I opined in my September 3, 2009 post.  There is not even any lingering doubt about the guilt of all these men yet they don't get to pay the ultimate price.  The gentle and thoroughly decent Chhabras have been murdered, and their ruthless killers spend their lives in prison conditions that are better than that of much of humanity on the outside. 

Rehabilitation should of course play a role depending on the circumstances.  Charlie's own crimes were a lot less serious (why they mix prisoners whose degrees of offenses are so disparate is beyond me.)  He came across as a well spoken person who had turned his life around, and I wish him well.

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