Pharma exec followed home, murdered after $10k casino win

Sree Aravapalli was allegedly trailed for 50 miles before being gunned down inside his New Jersey residence by suspect Jekai Reid-John.


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Sree Aravapalli (left) was allegedly followed home and shot dead by Jekai Reid-John (right) after a big casino win
(Ruby Memorial Home/WNBC)

A New Jersey man’s good fortune tragically proved to be the opposite of a blessing when he was seen winning $10,000 at a casino and later murdered for his windfall.

Pharmaceutical executive Sree Aravapalli, 54, was slain in his own home in the early hours of Tuesday morning after a robber spotted him cashing in his winnings at the Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.

According to police, suspect Jekai Reid-John, 27, followed Aravapalli by car for 50 miles as the older man drove back to his residence in Plainsboro, New Jersey.

Reid-John is then alleged to have gunned the victim down inside his home as his wife and teenage daughter lay sleeping upstairs.

Police responded just after 3:30 a.m. to reports of gunfire in Aravapalli’s otherwise quiet and affluent neighborhood, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Officers found the exec at the scene with several gunshot wounds. Aravapalli, who did not know his alleged killer, was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators determined that the killing was an attempted robbery.

A security camera at a nearby farm stand captured footage of Reid-John’s car closely following Aravapalli’s in the dead of night, cops told NBC4.

The same camera later caught just one car making its way back to Pennsylvania after the fatal shooting.

Police say Aravapalli had just arrived home and was still downstairs when Reid-John allegedy broke in through a back sliding door.

After gunshots rang out, a neighbor reported hearing a car racing away from the scene.

Reid-John, of Norristown, Pennsylvania, was arrested and charged on Thursday with first-degree murder.

He was detained in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, but will be extradited to face trial in New Jersey, authorities said.

Parx Casino CEO Eric Hausler said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened by the report that earlier this week a customer of Parx Casino was the victim of a homicide at his home after returning from a visit to the casino.

“Parx Casino has been cooperating fully with local and state law enforcement agencies in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and will continue to do so. Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of the victim at this incredibly difficult time,” the statement continued.

Avarapelli had been the CEO of Aurex Labs in nearby East Windsor for the last seven and a half years, according to his LinkedIn profile

The brutal slaying of a popular community member has stunned neighbors in the sleepy, well-to-do suburb.

“No one wins in something like this. How can the person that did this think they could get away with it? Why would they kill him?” Abhikanit Kar, of Plainsboro, told ABC 6.

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