Compassion amid a trial into gruesome murders
ARTHUR J PAIS
Joseph Mathai Pallipurath looks around quite a bit during the murder trial going on in a court room in
Patterson, New Jersey. He looks stoically at the exhibits
displayed for the jury. Occasionally, he looks at the ceiling and smiles, and turns to the jurors for a second or
two. But he will not look at the members of his victims’
families — sitting a few feet away and somberly watching
the proceeding. Six of them come to the court two times
a week for the trial which began two weeks and could go
on for next three.
Though he could not stop from staring at the wheel-chair-bound Sylvie Perincheril, the surviving victim of
the St Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church shooting in 2008, his eyes moved away quickly. Pallipapurth’s
estranged wife Reshma James, 24, was living with
Perincheril following what seemed like the definite ending of her one-year-old marriage. She had told family she
would never go back to her husband because he was too
angry and possessive. He allegedly shot James,
Perincheril, and parishioner Dennis John Malloosseril,
25, in a span of two or three minutes.
Perincheril, nearly 50, speaks slowly in the court room
and is asked by Judge Salem Ahto to speak louder. The
court records show Perincheril, after identifying the
defendant, also said she felt sorry for Pallipurath. She
hardly knew him and was seeing him for the first time
after the shooting. Family members said she found it difficult to look at him and identify him.
‘Do you feel anger for Mr Pallipurath?’ asked defense
attorney Harley Breite, according to NewJersey.Com
‘No,’ she said.
‘No?’ Breite said.
‘I hope he changes,’ Perincheril said.
Family members say she draws strength from her religious convictions.
Pallipurath is charged with James’s and Malloosseril’s
murders, and the attempted murder of Perincheril. Though
Pallipurath told the authorities on tape how angry he was
on the day of shooting, his defense argued to the contrary.
Joseph Pallipurath, right, at the State Superior Court in Paterson, New Jersey, March 24
‘I swear if I had a (expletive) machine gun I would have
killed everybody,’ according to the tape. ‘I would have mas-
sacred the whole (expletive) church. That’s how much
anger I had.’
Last week, his attorney said: ‘Whatever happened on that
terrible day was not the result his intention to kill or seri-
ously injure anyone at that church. Mr Pallipurath cer-
tainly was in possession of a weapon.’
Perincheril, who was in a coma for 16 days, and in hos-
pital for weeks, had to undergo intensive rehab. She had
worked for years for the Passaic Board of Education. The
mother of three, who also taught religious classes at the
church, said she has not gone back to work since the
shooting. She remained acutely tense, but her son, who
accompanied her to court, said she felt duty-bound.
Oklahoma State University School of Business Dean Crosby, right,
presents Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Andhra Pradesh’s information and
technology minister, left, with an Outstanding Contribution Award,
Left: Ponnala with Indian Americans in Dallas, March 22. He also
met with 150 firms of the ITServe Alliance, an association of
information technology companies