A Glendale Heights father charged with setting his two sons on fire will plead guilty to their murders in exchange that his own life is spared, lawyers said Friday.
Kaushik J. Patel, 36, will be sentenced to life in prison without parole in a plea deal expected for approval May 18. Prosecutors agreed to drop the threat of the death penalty if Patel admits his guilt.
"We have an agreement in principle," DuPage Public Defender Jeffrey York confirmed. "We just have to get some minor details out of the way."
Patel is accused of luring his young sons into a bathtub with toys, dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire Nov. 18, 2007 in their home on Harvest Lane. The boys' mother was not home during the fire.
The boys clung to life at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood after the fire, but 4-year-old Om succumbed to his injuries in January 2008 and 7-year-old Vishv lost his fight a month later. Kaushik Patel also suffered severe burns.
Patel told the Daily Herald in a March 2008 jail interview he meant to harm only himself in a botched suicide attempt amid marital woes with his wife, Nishaben. He said the children burst into the bathroom unexpectedly.
But in an earlier ruling, Creswell said deathbed testimony was admissible from the oldest boy - as told by his mother - that the fire was not an accident. Nishaben Patel said her son explained in graphic detail how his father set the boys on fire after bathing them in a gasoline-filled tub that he claimed held only water.
The former couple wed Aug. 12, 1997, in an arranged marriage in their native India, five years after he had come to the United States. They divorced July 1, 2008.
Kaushik Patel is being held in the DuPage County jail on a $10 million bond.