SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A preliminary hearing was held Thursday for one of the suspects charged in a murder at a local motel.
Bhikhubhai Patel was found dead inside one of the rooms at the Stallion Inn Motel back in March.
Alexis Brown and Emanuel Harvey have been charged in the murder. Police say surveillance video, text messages and fingerprints led to their arrests.
Brown was not in court, but her attorney was.
Police painted a grim picture about what led to Patel’s death. A detective testified that surveillance video shows Brown, a child, and a man checking into the motel on March 29th and going in room 9.
Hours later, the detective says the video shows Patel going into the room, coming out once to use the cell phone. He goes back into the room, and never leaves again.
According to police, evidence shows there was cooking oil found all over the bed in room 9, and also on Patel’s body.
He was found dead on the floor, his legs were bound, and he was nude from the waist down. Detectives say text messages from Patel’s phone show he went to that room to get a message.
According to police, when they questioned the suspect, Alexis Brown, she told them she was present during the altercation with Patel.
“She did say Mr. Patel was struck with a pot filled with grease and the grease was hot. She said he was struck in the face, and she also said Mr. Patel attempted to fight back,” the detective said.
Investigators say the contents of Patel’s pockets were spread all over the bed. They said he had lacerations and burn marks on his back and blood on his face.
News 3 spoke to the victim’s family. They want to know why he was killed.
“He was such a loving, kind hearted, humble person. It’s very sad, it’s very heartbreaking. The only question is why did they murder him? Why would anyone want to do that to him?” said Nashira Patel, the victim’s niece.
Authorities say they still don’t know how Patel died. An autopsy was performed at the GBI Crime Lab, but the results have not been released.
The second suspect, Emanuel Harvey, has also been charged with murder in this case.
Police believe Harvey and Brown have been involved in other violent crimes across Chatham County, including an armed robbery and aggravated assault case on March 21, just 8 days before Patel was last seen.
In that case, a victim told police Brown assaulted him in the parking lot of a fitness store.
Police say he was beaten in the head with a crowbar.