- Associated Press - Friday, May 26, 2017

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) - A judge on Friday ordered a community college student held without bail in connection with the killing of a convicted drug dealer after prosecutors recited texts she allegedly sent to a co-conspirator that suggested destroying evidence.

Twenty-year-old Raquel Garajau texted boyfriend Joseph Villani and told him to “bleach everything” and that “we will throw that stuff in the ocean,” Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Melanie Falco told the judge.

Falco also told the judge Garajau was seen in a photo posted on social media holding a gun later determined to be the murder weapon, despite Garajau’s claim she had never touched the gun.

Twenty-nine-year-old Trupal Patel’s body was found in a Monmouth County park in February, about two weeks after he was reported missing.

Garajau, a Brookdale Community College student from Tinton Falls, and the 21-year-old Villani, of Ocean Township, are charged with murder. Villani was arrested in February, while Garajau was arrested this month, The Asbury Park Press reported (https://on.app.com/2rZmZOZ).

Garajau’s lawyer told the judge Friday his client is innocent and is a dean’s list student who has never been in trouble. He said there is no direct evidence she participated in either the killing or the disposing of Patel’s body.


This version changes the characterization of the death of the victim to killing instead of murder

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