BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — After his daughter-in-law insulted him, Jagjit Singh took a moment to think about what she had said, a prosecutor said Monday.
“Now, he could have walked away at that point,” Deputy District Attorney Kara Thompson told jurors.
He did, for a moment, but only to retrieve a .38-caliber revolver from his bedroom and load it with five rounds, Thompson said during her closing argument. Then he returned to the living room and shot Sumandeep Kaur Kooner three times
First he shot her in the back of the neck as she sat on a sofa, the prosecutor said. He then walked around the sofa and fired two more shots into her.
David A. Torres, Singh’s attorney, is asking the jury to reject first-degree murder and instead find his client guilty of voluntary manslaughter. He said Singh acted in the heat of the moment with no premeditation.
“In reality what happens is that in this case Mr. Jagjit Singh, in a rash and impulsive moment, shot Sumandeep,” Torres said.
Singh, 67, faces life in prison if convicted of murder.
On Aug. 26, 2019, first responders were called to a report of a medical emergency at a house on Monache Meadows Drive in southwest Bakersfield and found Kooner’s body on a couch.
Singh told police he either had to kill himself or Kooner due to her “dishonoring of him,” according to court documents.
According to his statement to police, Singh heard Kooner talking with someone on the phone the day before about leaving. He said he had been trying to counsel Kooner and persuade her to stay with the family when she made what, for him, a practicing Sikh, was a grave insult.
Kooner told him, “I’ll pull off your beard and shove it up your (expletive),” Singh said.
A Punjabi cultural expert testified last week that touching or cutting the beard of a Sikh would be considered an act of sacrilege.
Singh, his wife, Kooner, her husband and their children lived in the house.
This article will be updated.