UPDATE: Beant Dhillon took the witness stand at 3:15 p.m. She confirmed her daughter, the one who gave birth to the baby found buried in the backyard, is her eldest child.
Dhillon said she grew up in India in the state of Punjab, in what she called a traditional Indian family where women are taught to be subservient to men.
“In our tradition, the man is everything and we listen to whatever he tells us to do,” Dhillon said.
A woman can not question a man in her culture, Dhillon testified. She said husbands, brothers, fathers — all men — must be obeyed.
“Whatever he says, I have to listen,” she said.
Her family arranged two marriages for her. The first lasted only three months because her husband was abusive and did drugs, Dhillon said.
The second marriage was to Jagsir Singh. She said he also abused her, both mentally and physically. The abuse began after she gave birth to their first child. Dhillon said Singh struck her with a shoe, belt and other objects.
Dhillon’s testimony will continue Tuesday.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A woman charged with killing her teen daughter’s newborn son will testify as to why she gave investigators a false confession, and how she didn’t touch the child but instead provided aid to her daughter, who bled heavily after giving birth on a bathroom floor, a defense attorney said.
Beant Dhillon will also testify to her practice of the Sikh faith and how she was raised in India, born into a conservative family that taught her to be subservient to men, said attorney David A. Torres in his opening statement. She’s expected to tell the jury how her husband subjected her to years of abuse, and how she took on the role of her daughter’s protector, who also faced her husband’s wrath.
The evidence will show she didn’t harm the baby, Torres said Monday, and that the child may have died at birth because of a lack of prenatal care, or have bled to death because the umbilical cord wasn’t tied off. He said he will ask the jury to return a verdict of not guilty on all counts.
Dhillon, 44, is charged with first-degree murder and assault charges and faces life in prison if convicted.
Prosecutor John Allen has argued Dhillon killed the baby to prevent the shame she believed the family would suffer in the Sikh community because of her unwed daughter’s pregnancy. Dhillon gave investigators several explanations for the child’s death. In one, according to court testimony and documents, she admitted to drowning the boy in the bathtub.
Dhillon’s trial is in its fifth day. Torres reserved his opening statement until the prosecution rested its case Monday morning, while Allen presented his opening on the trial’s first day.
Last week, Dhillon’s daughter testified to hiding her pregnancy before giving birth Nov. 12, 2018, in a bathroom of their southwest Bakersfield home. The daughter said she was taken to another bathroom and cleaned while someone else took the baby, and she was later told the child had been taken for adoption.
It wasn’t until an argument with her father three months later, where he she said he threatened to kill her and pointed to the backyard, telling her her baby was buried there, that she went to authorities and shared her suspicions. Police unearthed the baby’s remains from a 2-foot grave, and Dhillon and her husband were arrested.
Dhillon’s husband, Jagsir Singh, bailed out after he was charged with being an accessory to murder. He hanged himself at the family’s house.