BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Jagjit Singh, convicted of gunning down his daughter-in-law after she allegedly insulted him, will be sentenced in July.
Singh, 67, faces up to 50 years to life in prison at his July 14 sentencing hearing.
After finding Singh guilty of first-degree murder on Wednesday, jurors on Thursday completed deliberations on aggravating factors filed in the case.
Defense attorneys David A. Torres and Navraj S. Rai argued at trial Singh was provoked and acted in the heat of the moment when he shot Sumandeep Kaur Kooner, 37. They asked the jury to acquit him of first-degree murder and instead return a guilty verdict for voluntary manslaughter.
Prosecutor Kara Thompson told the jury Singh took time to consider his actions. Instead of letting the alleged insult pass, he retrieved a revolver, loaded it and shot Kooner three times.
The jury deliberated two days.
On the morning of Aug. 26, 2019, police were called to a home on Monache Meadows Drive in southwest Bakersfield. They found Kooner dead on a sofa.
Singh told police he had to either kill Kooner or himself because of her “dishonoring of him,” according to court documents.
According to the defense, Singh tried to counsel Kooner after overhearing a phone call the day before in which she talked about leaving the family. Singh, his wife, Kooner, her husband and their children lived together.
As they argued, Kooner told Singh to mind his own business. She told him, “I’ll pull off your beard and shove it up your (expletive),” Torres said.
Hair is very important among Sikhs, and cutting the beard of a Sikh against would be considered an act of sacrilege, a Punjabi cultural expert testified.