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Buffalo woman indicted on murder charges in restaurant owner's killing

Shanita Chapman.

An Erie County grand jury has indicted a Buffalo woman on two counts of second-degree murder in the July killing of an East Side restaurant owner.

Shanita Chapman, 30, was arraigned Wednesday in Erie County Court on charges she robbed and beat to death Upendra Bawa, whose body was found July 19 in an apartment upstairs from his Sycamore Street restaurant, Taste of Life.

Bawa, 78, died of blunt force trauma, a determination made after the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office performed an autopsy. Buffalo police in late August ruled Bawa's death a homicide.

Investigators believe Bawa was killed July 17. He operated the restaurant on the 800 block of Sycamore for more than 20 years.

At least two more arrests are expected in the case, a source close to the investigation previously told The Buffalo News.

Chapman, who was arrested Dec. 14 by Buffalo police, pleaded not guilty before Erie County Court Judge David W. Foley and remains held without bail. Last week, Chapman was charged with one count of murder in Buffalo City Court. She waived a grand jury indictment at that court appearance. A new indictment would supersede the prior charges.

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