Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 November 2019

Man to face grand jury over murder of UAE student in the US

Neil Kumar, 30, was killed in robbery at a garage in Alabama in July

Neil Kumar, 30, who grew up in the Emirates, was shot dead in the US in July.
Neil Kumar, 30, who grew up in the Emirates, was shot dead in the US in July.

A grand jury will determine if there is sufficient evidence to charge a man with the murder of a UAE student in the United States this year.

Neil Kumar, 30, was shot in a petrol station robbery in Pike County, Alabama, in July.

The son of an Indian family from Sharjah, Mr Kumar was studying for a master’s degree in computer science and working part-time at the garage.

The attack took place as he opened the garage in the city of Brundidge at about 6am.

Leon Terrell Flowers, 23, was charged with capital murder and robbery.

Following a preliminary hearing, Pike County Judge Steven Curtis said there was sufficient evidence against Mr Flowers to send the case to a grand jury.

Brundidge police chief Moses Davenport said a video recording showed Mr Flowers entering the garage at about 6am and demanding money.

Mr Davenport said Mr Flowers went behind the counter where he shot Mr Kumar at close range before leaving with an undetermined amount of cash.

The police chief said that an anonymous 911 call was made at 7am.

Flowers has four previous convictions, Pike County district attorney Thomas Anderson said.

Leon Flowers, 23, has been charged with capital murder and robbery. Courtesy Pike County Sheriff's Office
Leon Flowers, 23, has been charged with capital murder and robbery. Courtesy Pike County Sheriff's Office

He was previously arrested and charged with felony murder in an unrelated case, which was subsequently reduced to manslaughter.

Mr Flowers was released on probation on April 30, after being given credit for time served while awaiting trial.

In that case, the father of the victim had asked for leniency.

Mr Kumar’s parents, Kumar Purushu and his wife Seema, originally from India, have lived in Sharjah for most of their lives.

Their three children, including the victim, went to school in Dubai. Kumar’s two sisters have both settled in America since then.

Mr Kumar was enrolled at Troy University, where friends and staff said they were saddened and shocked by his death.

Following his death, his family paid tribute to a beloved son and brother.

“You are loved and missed by so many because of your kind, witty, charming and selfless nature,” the family said.

“Your loss is unbearable and you have left a hole in our hearts that can never be filled. We will miss you for ever beloved son and dearest little brother.”

The date of the next hearing has yet to be disclosed.

Updated: September 8, 2019 09:01 PM

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