BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Jagjit Singh gunned down his daughter-in-law for showing independence by working a job and considering leaving her husband, an attorney said.
“This murder occurred because (she) was breaking with the lifestyle (Singh) so deeply wanted her to live,” prosecutor Kara Thompson told jurors during her opening statement Thursday in Singh’s trial.
Defense lawyer David A. Torres, however, asked the jury to return not guilty verdicts for murder and instead find his client guilty of voluntary manslaughter, arguing Sumandeep Kaur Kooner provoked and disrespected Singh and disparaged his deeply-held beliefs as a lifetime practitioner of the Sikh religion.
Singh, 67, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
Torres said experts will testify to the grave insults Kooner lobbed at her father-in-law, and how he reacted in the heat of the moment.
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. She had been shot three times.
Singh told police he either had to kill himself or Kooner due to her “dishonoring of him,” according to court documents.
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