Suspect in Murder of New Haven Father-to-Be Scheduled to Plea in Court

A man is due in New Haven Superior Court to plea in the case of the murder of a Connecticut father-to-be and New Haven store clerk during a robbery inside a New Haven gas station.

Leighton Vanderberg, 22, is being held in custody on a $2 million bond and is scheduled to plea in court on Tuesday. 

The New Haven victim, store clerk Sanjay Patel, 39, was shot more than five times during a robbery at the Pay Rite Food Store at the Citgo station on Forbes Avenue on the night of Monday, April 6.

He previously pleaded guilty in the murder of Bridgeport Store owner Jose Salgado, which happened just days after the New Haven fatal shooting.

Police said one gunman shot Patel four times, the other shot him more than once, then fled with cash and a box of cigars.

"He's my main power, my life, and he is no more," pregnant widow Bhavana Chavada said of her late husband. "Why? Just money? Just robbery?"

Police secured arrest warrants for three suspects and have since arrested Vanderberg.

Dwayne Sayles, 21, of New Haven, was taken into custody with the help of U.S. Marshals and was charged with felony murder, murder, criminal possession of a pistol and first-degree robbery. He is in the custody of New Haven police.

Police also obtained an arrest warrant for Jamal Sumler, 23.

Police believe Sayes and Sumler were the two people to fire shots at Patel.

The one thing Patel wanted most in life was a child. After six years of trying, the couple learned that they would have a son, but Patel will never meet his child or be able to hold him.

"We had so much planned. Now everything is gone. My only light is our son. I want the Lord to bring justice upon this incident," a statement from Chavada said.

Vanderberg was charged with felony murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery in the murder of Patel.

Sumler, who is also incarcerated in Connecticut, faces charges of felony murder, murder, criminal possession of a pistol and first-degree robbery.

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