California woman receives life sentence for murder of grandson

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A California woman convicted of drowning her newborn grandson in 2018 was sentenced on Friday to 25 years to life in prison, plus four years.

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Beant Kaur Dhillon, 45, was convicted in December on charges of first-degree murder and two counts of assault, KERO-TV reported. Judge Kenneth C. Twisselman II added that Dhillon was not eligible for probation, the television station reported.

On Nov. 12, 2018, Dhillon’s 15-year-old daughter gave birth on the bathroom floor of her home, KGET reported. Dhillon did not know the girl was pregnant, the television station reported.

As the girl was led into another room, Dhillon drowned the newborn in the bathtub, KBAK reported. Dhillon and her 22-year-old nephew, Bakhshinderpal Singh Mann, buried the baby in the backyard of their home, according to the television station. During the trial, Dhillon’s daughter testified that Mann was the father of her child.

Dhillon’s daughter told police she was led to believe the infant had been taken away to be adopted, KBAK reported. She learned the baby was dead on Feb. 25, 2019, when her brother told her the infant had been buried in the backyard.

Dhillon’s daughter told the police about the infant’s death and authorities exhumed the body the next day, KERO reported. Police arrested Dhillon and her husband, Jagsir Singh, the television station reported.

Singh was arrested on allegations of aiding a felon, felony child abuse and conspiracy, according to KBAK. After posting $50,000 bail, Singh hanged himself in the family’s home on March 7, 2019, authorities said.

Mann fled the day of the murder and his whereabouts are still unknown, KERO reported.

Before Dhillon’s sentencing, her daughter and teen son addressed the court, both saying they loved their mother and have remained in touch with her since her arrest, KGET reported. The daughter said the family needs her.

Defense attorney David Torres asked Twisselmanto consider sentencing Dhillon to probation by finding her predicament to be an “unusual case” under state law, the television station reported.

Torres argued Dhillon is also a victim, suffering years of abuse at the hands of her husband.

“He was the Joseph Stalin of that particular family,” Torres said of Singh.

Twisselman said those actions did not excuse “the gruesome manner in which she treated her grandson at his time of greatest need.”

The judge added that the case did not qualify as unusual and imposed the life term, KGET reported.

“I think that any case that involves family violence, as was demonstrated in court today, is tragic,” Deputy District Attorney John Allen told the television station. “It’s tragic for the entire family, and the consequences for the defendant’s actions have a ripple effect amongst the rest of the family, and I think that’s what makes it truly unfortunate and tragic.”