Some text messages allowed in trial in drug dealer’s murder

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — A judge has ruled that jurors will be allowed to hear about some of the text messages from a community college dean’s list student and her boyfriend in their trial in the murder of a convicted marijuana dealer.

Twenty-year-old Raquel Garajau, a Brookdale Community College student, and 21-year-old Joseph Villani are charged in the death of Trupal Patel, whose body was found in a Monmouth County park in February.

The Asbury Park Press reports that a judge ruled Tuesday that jurors will be allowed to hear some text messages as well as an acquaintance’s testimony that he was offered cash to help move Patel’s body.

The judge barred prosecutors from using some messages. Defense attorneys said messages related to drugs were irrelevant because the two aren’t charged with drug offenses.

(Information from: Asbury Park (N.J.) Press,