Parx Casino Player Murder: New Details Emerge on Alleged Shooter

Posted on: November 1, 2021, 07:28h. 

Last updated on: November 1, 2021, 02:59h.

A man accused of killing a winning player after they both left Pennsylvania’s Parx Casino last week was shadowing him on the gaming floor well before their exit, news reports reveal. The alleged assailant later tailed the victim some 30 miles to his New Jersey home, where the 54-year-old was shot and later died, police said.

Jekai Reid-John
Jekai Reid-John, pictured above in mug shot. He is charged with first-degree murder in the death of a casino winner. (Image: NBC)

Jekai Reid-John, 27, of Norristown, Pa., is charged with first-degree murder. He was seen near Sree Aravapalli while he was at Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pa. last Tuesday, the Bucks County Courier Times, a local newspaper, reported.

Once at Aravapalli’s Plainsboro, N.J. home, Reid-John entered the house via a sliding door, police said. He allegedly shot the victim several times. Aravapalli died a short time later.

Aravapalli won about $10,000 at the casino that night. It remains unclear how much, if any, of the winnings Reid-John stole during the apparent robbery, police said.

Reid-John claimed he drove a BMW to the casino that night to purchase food. He demanded to see a lawyer when police began to ask him details on what happened after he left the casino, the Courier Times said.

Reid-John remains in custody in Pennsylvania. He is awaiting possible extradition to New Jersey. More charges are possible in the case, news reports said.

It was revealed that in 2016, Reid-John pleaded guilty to a narcotics charge in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County. He was sentenced to two to four years in prison. He was also given eight years of probation, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Second Suspect Arrested

A second suspect identified today as Devon Melchor, 26, of Upper Darby, Pa., was also believed to be at the casino and who allegedly drove Reid-John to the victim’s house. This suspect was apprehended late last week trying to board an international flight in Florida, news reports revealed. He was charged with armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery charges,, a regional news site, added.

Police Seize Evidence

As the murder investigation unfolds, police seized a loaded 9 mm handgun in connection with the case, news reports said.

Some .380 casings were also seized at the crime scene, reports add. Police also located clothes in the defendant’s BMW that matched what Reid-John was wearing at the casino based on surveillance video, police said.

On Thursday, Eric Hausler, the CEO of Parx, confirmed to the Courier Times that Aravapalli was at the casino, and later was killed.

“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,” Hausler said. “Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of the victim at this incredibly difficult time.”

Aravapalli had won about $10,000 at the casino that night
Pennsylvania’s Parx Casino, pictured above. (Image: G. Widman/Visit Philadelphia)

Neighbors Stunned

Aravapalli was CEO of Aurex Labs, a pharmaceutical company in East Windsor, N.J., Fox Business reported. He lived in an affluent neighborhood.

Neighbors in Plainsboro first alerted police about the shooting. They remain stunned by the news.

“It’s crazy,” Sheeza Khan, who lives near Aravapalli’s residence, was quoted by KYW, a Philadelphia TV station. “I mean, unbelievable. Like how can somebody follow him all the way, and come here and kill him in the night? It’s so shocking.”

Prior Violent Robbery of Casino Winner

Other violent robberies have taken place nationwide where suspects have followed winning players from a casino.

In April, a 74-year-old Win-River Resort & Casino winner was robbed and dragged from her car in front of her Redding, Calif. home. The holdup took place shortly after she left the nearby casino.

Timothy Wilt, 33. and Allissa Long, 24, were arrested for the incident.