03/11/2013 07:16 EDT | Updated 05/11/2013 05:12 EDT

Ninderjit Singh pleads guilty in 1999 slaying of ex-girlfriend

A man arrested in California in connection with the 1999 Vancouver shooting death of his ex-girlfriend pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday.

Ninderjit Singh was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Poonam Randhawa, who was shot in the head as she sat in the back of a friend's car. Her body was then dumped in a lane near Granville Street and West 47th Avenue.

Last week, a jury was selected for his trial. But on Monday, Singh pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Singh was arrested on Aug. 19, 2011, in California's Riverside County and extradited to Canada, ending a 12-year pursuit by Vancouver police.

By then, he was married and living under an alias in California, where he worked as a long-haul truck driver. Police say he had narrowly escaped arrest several times before.

"After years of searching, near-misses and heartbreaking attempts, we got him," said Warren Lemcke, Vancouver's deputy police chief.

"The whole family was suffering from that, you know. He got caught, he pleaded guilty. It will have some closure."

Police have said they believed Singh had help from friends and family when he fled Canada for the United States.

Singh's sentencing hearing will be held on March 27. He faces a sentence of life in prison with no eligibility for parole for at least 10 years.

He is also facing assault, attempted murder and firearm charges in connection with a separate incident. Singh is accused of shooting a man at a Vancouver movie theatre in 1997.