BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The trial date for a woman accused of drowning her daughter’s newborn and conspiring with other relatives in burying the body in the backyard of their southwest Bakersfield home has again been postponed.
With reduced staffing and many cases getting pushed back to avoid crowding at Kern County Superior Court amid coronavirus concerns, the trial for Beant Dhillon was postponed from Monday to Aug. 3.
Dhillon, 44, has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges and remains held without bail.
Dhillon told investigators she discovered her daughter, who she hadn’t known was pregnant, had given birth Nov. 18, 2018, in a bathroom at their house in the 5200 block of Shining Crag Avenue, according to court filings. She said she took the newborn boy and placed him face down in several inches of water in a bath tub. She removed him from the tub once he stopped moving.
It’s alleged she killed the baby to avoid the shame her daughter’s pregnancy would have brought to the family in the Sikh community.
The baby was buried in the backyard by Dhillon and 23-year-old Bakhshinderpal Singh Mann, her nephew, according to police testimony and court documents. They dug a hole and placed the newborn in it along with salt.
Dhillon and her husband, Jagsir Singh, told their daughter, who passed out in the bathroom and didn’t see what happened to her child, that the baby had been taken for adoption, according to police testimony and documents.
The daughter eventually told police her father had threatened to kill her, and further investigation led to the discovery of the corpse in the backyard.
Singh, 48, hanged himself after posting bond and being released from custody on charges of accessory to murder and willful cruelty to a child.
Mann, who was in the country illegally, removed a GPS monitoring device the day after police dug up the body. He remains at large.