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Two more teens charged in Indian-American scientist's murder

world Updated: Jul 02, 2010 18:59 IST

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US police has charged two more teenagers for the murder of an Indian-American computer scientist outside his home at Old Bridge in New Jersey.

Three other teenagers were charged Monday after Divyendu Sinha, 49, an IIT Kharagpur alumnus, died from head injuries he received in the beating by a group of teenagers last Friday.

Two boys, one 17 and the other 16, join three other 17-year-olds charged earlier. The five, none of whom was identified because of their ages, may also face bias charges, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said.

In addition to the charges arising from Sinha's fatal beating, the five juveniles, all Old Bridge residents, were charged in a separate unrelated case of an altercation with a motorist minutes before they attacked Sinha, Kaplan said.

The five teenagers engaged in a motor vehicle chase with another motorist less than five minutes before they attacked Sinha, the prosecutor said. The incidents occurred less than two miles from each other.

Kaplan said that while the attack on Sinha appears to be random and unprovoked in light of the earlier incident, authorities may decide to file bias charges once their investigation is completed.

The initial focus of the probe, he said, "has been to determine who was responsible for the murder of Dr. Sinha".

Kaplan said he is considering whether to move to have the five juveniles tried as adults, where they would face harsher penalties than in Family Court. Under the law, the prosecutor's office has 30 days to file the motion in Family Court. Ultimately, the decision rests with a judge.

Sinha, a scientist and former professor, was attacked while walking with his wife and two sons. Authorities said the juveniles got out of a car and attacked Sinha and his sons. No weapons were used in the assault; the sons sustained minor injuries and the wife was unhurt, authorities said.

Sinha's death sparked concern in the Asian Indian community in Old Bridge and led to a meeting earlier this week with township officials. Members of the South Asian community in Old Bridge say they have experienced persecution, particularly at the hands of teenagers.