UPDATE: Woman charged with killing newborn testifies she lied about killing baby to protect her family

Crime Watch

Beant Dhillon

UPDATE (3 p.m.): Dhillon testified she repeatedly told detectives the baby wasn’t crying or moving when the entered bathroom where her daughter had given birth. She said she cleaned her daughter and when she returned her nephew told her the baby was dead.

So why did she eventually tell detectives she drowned the baby?

Dhillon testified she was scared, especially after detectives told her her entire family had been brought to the police station. If she wasn’t responsible for the baby’s death, a detective told her in recordings played in the courtroom, then one of her nephews, or her mother, must be responsible.

In fear over what could happen to her family, Dhillon said, she accepted the blame. She said she put the baby in the water. But that was a lie, she said.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — When her son peered under the bathroom door and saw blood, Beant Dhillon feared the worst.

Dhillon’s daughter, who had locked herself in the bathroom, had years ago cut herself in a suicide attempt. Dhillon wondered if her daughter had once again tried to kill herself — or even succeeded.

What she didn’t expect when the door opened was to find her daughter lying on the floor and a baby in the cabinet under the sink, Dhillon testified. She didn’t know until that moment her 15-year-old daughter had been pregnant.

In her second day of testimony, Dhillon, 44, said the baby, which she earlier heard crying, no longer made noise. Her defense attorney, David A. Torres, has said his client never harmed the child, which he said may have died from blood loss because the umbilical cord wasn’t tied off.

Prosecutors, however, say Dhillon drowned the baby to avoid the shame her unwed daughter’s pregnancy would bring to the family in the Sikh community. She told police she drowned the baby, but Torres said that was a false confession, the reason for which Dhillon will provide during her testimony.

Dhillon faces a life term in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. Prosecutors also filed two assault charges against her, one for the alleged killing of the baby, the other for failing to provide proper medical aid to her daughter following the birth.

Her trial, now in its sixth day, has featured testimony from her two children. Dhillon’s daughter testified she remembers little of what happened after she gave birth because she had lost a lot of blood and kept going in and out of consciousness.

Someone took the baby, the daughter testified, and she was taken to the master bedroom, where her mother and grandmother cleaned her. They placed her in bed and she slept.

Her cousin and lover, Bakhshinderpal Singh Mann, told her their child was taken for adoption, the daughter testified. She had her suspicions, the daughter said, but decided to believe what she’d been told until an argument with her father three months later, where he father pointed to the backyard and said the child was buried there.

Police unearthed the baby’s badly decomposed body from a 2-foot grave. Cause of death could not be determined through a physical examination, but was determined to be drowning based on Dhillon’s confession.

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