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Trust fund to honor Dr. Moonda



Published: Tue, July 10, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.

A specific beneficiary for the fund has not been established.

By ANGIE SCHMITT

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

POLAND — The only stateside relatives of slain Hermitage, Pa., urologist Dr. Gulam Moonda broke their silence Monday in announcing the establishment of a trust fund in his name.

Faroq Moonda, of Poland, said he plans to establish a charitable trust to honor the life and accomplishments of the uncle that made a home for him in the United States at 14, and adopted him as a son.

“He was an amazing human being who helped thousands of people in this country and India,” Faroq said. “I feel as though we can now focus on his wonderful and fulfilling life, instead of his tragic death.”

Faroq and his wife, Afreen, said they were pleased with the July 6 murder conviction of Gulam Moonda’s widow Donna, but focused comments during a Monday news conference on their charitable efforts and his uncle’s legacy.

Afreen shared pictures of Gulam Moonda in happy times.

“We are all relieved to finally have closure to this horrible event,” said Faroq. “We can now mourn in peace.”

Emphasis on education

The couple have not yet established a specific beneficiary for the fund, nor have they attached a figure to their contribution, said Faroq. The fund, they say, will be used to further the cause Gulam Moonda championed in life — education.

Faroq said his uncle’s generosity made it possible for him to pursue a medical career; he is an anesthesiologist. The Mercer County, Pa., doctor also established a medical school in his hometown in India.

“He was basically responsible for what I am today,” said Faroq. “He was not only a great physician, he was an overall great human being.”

The trust fund will not benefit from the estimated $3 million to $6 million estate prosecutors argue was the motive for Gulam Moonda’s killing, Faroq Moonda and his wife say.

Faroq said he and Afreen were following Donna and Gulam on the Ohio Turnpike, at about one half-hour’s distance, on May 14, 2005 — the day Gulam Moonda was shot on the roadside of the turnpike.

Faroq said he did not learn of his uncle’s murder until three days later when he read it in a newspaper.

Testimony

During trial testimony last week, the gunman, 25-year-old Damian Bradford, said Donna Moonda had promised to split her husband’s estate with him for his role in the killing. The two became lovers after meeting in a court-appointed rehab facility, he testified.

Bradford was a small-time drug dealer from Pittsburgh. Donna Moonda, 38, had lost her license as a nurse anesthetist because of an affinity for a potent painkiller called fentanyl.

A prenuptual agreement would have limited her settlement to $250,000 in the case of divorce.

Her guilty conviction, however, will prevent her from receiving any portion of the inheritance under

Faroq, who lived with Donna Moonda, said he thought of her as a mother and never imagined she was capable of murder.

“I didn’t know anything about the affair or the drug use until it came out in the paper,” he said.

He has since ceased contact with Donna Moonda, although he testified in her murder trial, he said.

“I will probably make a statement during sentencing, especially to Donna” he said.

Faroq and his wife did not state a preference for the death penalty or life in prison in her case.

Bradford pleaded guilty to federal charges last year and is expected to receive a 171⁄2-year sentence for his cooperation at Moonda's trial.

aschmitt@vindy.com


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