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Monday, May 4, 2009

Alleged Gay Grifter Ringleader Collapses in Court

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2009 at 6:27 PM

Kaushal Niroula
  • Kaushal Niroula
Kaushal Niroula, prime suspect in the Gay Grifter murder case, in which a group of high-living San Francisco nightlife denizens allegedly killed and robbed a retired Palm Springs art dealer, collapsed in court Monday and was taken to the hospital.

Niroula, 27, faces murder charges in connection with the December disappearance of Cliff Lambert. Also charged are some-time Niroula boyfriends Danny Garcia, 26, and David Replogle, 60, as well as purported Niroula hangers-on Miguel Bustamante, 26, a Castro barkeep, and Russell Manning, 67, a former San Francisco art dealer. All face murder charges in connection with the December disappearance of Lambert, 74. The case was detailed in the April 1 feature "The Dark Prince," which followed the high-stakes alleged crime career of Niroula, who is believed to have stolen at least $1.3 million in elaborate con operations before he and his friends made their way to Palm Springs, and into Lambert's life and accused death.

Because Lambert's murder allegedly took place along with financial crimes, Niroula, Garcia and their alleged co-conspirators face the possibility of the death penalty.

During a scheduled court appearance in Palm Springs on Monday, Niroula was seen gasping, with his eyes twitching, before he collapsed.

Jessica Davis, reporter for Southern California's City News Service, wrote an excellent account of today's proceedings, which included a well-worth-the-read roundup of the Gay Grifters case thus far. It's printed in today's Desert Sun. Sadly, the Sun failed to give Davis byline credit, attributing her fine story to an unnamed "Desert Sun Wire Service."

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