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Indian man charged with sons' murder to plead guilty

An Indian man, facing first degree murder charges for burning his two sons to death in 2007, will plead guilty to escape a possible death sentence.

world Updated: Apr 17, 2010 11:00 IST

An Indian man, facing first degree murder charges for burning his two sons to death in 2007, will plead guilty to escape a possible death sentence.

DuPage County prosecutors told a judge today that Kaushik Patel, 37, of Glendale Heights near here will be pleading
guilty in return for a life sentence for killing his sons Vishv (7) and Om, 4, on November 18, 2007.

"We have an agreement not to seek death," public defender Jeff York told Judge Kathryn Creswell, while Assistant State's Attorney Alex McGimpsey said all issues leading to a plea had been resolved.

Patel is expected to enter a formal guilty plea at the sentencing hearing set for May 18.

According to the DuPage County State's Attorney, Patel had in November 2007 lured his two young sons into the
bathroom of their Glendale Heights home where he then doused them with gasoline and set them on fire.

Later, Patel drove his two boys to a relative's house approximately five miles away where the relative alerted
authorities. A couple of months later, the boys succumbed to their injuries.

Patel, who was also injured in the attack but has since recovered, had claimed that he was attempting suicide when the
boys ran into the room and accidentally were splashed with gasoline and caught on fire.

Public defenders had told Creswell in August 2008 that Patel was willing to accept a life sentence in exchange for
death penalty.

DuPage County States' Attorney Joseph Birkett had rejected the offer as prosecutors had been seeking the death
penalty for Patel. They later tentatively agreed to a life sentence in return for Patel's guilty plea.

Patel is being held in the DuPage County jail.

The boys' mother Nisha Patel had told Creswell at a pre-trial hearing earlier that while battling for life in a
hospital, Vishv had described to her in detail about how Patel had set them on fire.

Nisha was told Patel took the boys out to buy toy cars, stopped to buy gasoline and returned with the boys to the
family home in Glendale Heights. She said Vishv said their father "told them to get into the bathroom and get into a
green tub", and then poured gasoline on them.

"What Patel is accused of, intentionally setting his own sons on fire, is unspeakable," Birkett had said. "This
complete disregard for human life is just gut-wrenching. These two young boys suffered unimaginable pain, allegedly at the hands of their own father," he added.

Patel married Nisha in August 1997 in India and came to the US five years later. They divorced on July 1, 2008.