NEVADA Towa: Dale Royer pleaded innocent by reason of insanity during a trial for alleged murders of two Sikh boys on Dec. 2nd, 1986. Royer, a former student at Iowa State University at Ames is accused of killing two Sikh boys by sprinkling gasoline and setting their house on fire.

However, under dramatic circumstances he was arrested within two days of the incident by a tip from a neighbor and detective’s recovered vital information and articles used to enter the house at night and setting it on fire.

The victims’ father, Deepinder Singh Sidhu, a Computer Science professor, at ISU had taught Royer in several classes. Dr. Sidhu during the trial testified that he strived for a year to help Royer complete his courses and finish his master’s project so he could graduate by May’86. He did not finish two Class projects and half of the homework assignments. And because Royer did not take final exam he gave him several options to complete the unfinished course work, but he didn’t show any interest in them.

Frustrated by his inability to successfully graduate, he set Dr. Sidhu’s house in Ames on fire on Dec. 2nd, 1986.

Dr. Sidhu’s two sons, Ravinder (7) and Harjit (12) died in the smoke-filled house and five other family members including Sidhu’s 70 year old father escaped with burn injuries.

The news of this heinous act scared the residents of this relatively calm Midwestern town. The scare caused nightmares among children who refused to sleep alone at night in their bedrooms.

However, during the arguments Royer’s attorney, Julia Keifer asserted that Dr. Sidhu tried to help Royer at his best but he could not see that mainly because of the initial stages of a mental illness which ultimately participated into a full-blown paranoid schizophrenic disorders; a condition that left him unable to distinguish right from wrong.

Keifer claimed the incidence was a tragedy but reported that Royer was a third victim in the case because of his mental illness. The jury trial will continue.

Article extracted from this publication >>  May 29, 1987