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Ninderjit Singh shot ex-gilfriend point-blank, family hears in court

03/28/2013 12:37 EDT | Updated 05/27/2013 05:12 EDT
The sentencing hearing for the man who killed a teenage girl and led Vancouver police on one of their longest manhunts began in B.C. Supreme Court Wedesday.

Ninderjit Singh shot and killed 18-year-old Poonam Randhawa in 1999 as she sat in the back of a car he was in.

Police apprehended Singh 12 years later with the help of police in California, where he had altered his appearance and was allegedly living, married, under an alias.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the killing of Randhawa earlier in March, but her family members first heard some of the chilling details of her last moments today.

Crown prosecutor Sandra Cunningham, reading from the agreed statement of facts, told the court Randhawa and Singh had a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship that had been kept secret from her parents. But Singh was violent and controlling, she said.

On the day Randhawa was killed, Singh held the gun to her head in the back of a friend's car and accused her of cheating on him.

Randhawa responded: "I'm not scared. Go ahead, shoot me."

He did.

Singh and his friend then dumped Randhawa in a lane near Granville Street and West 47th Avenue, where a woman passing by minutes later found her body.

Family horrified by details

The gruesome details have left Randhawa's family seeking harsh punishment.

Harry Randhawa, the victim's first cousin, spoke on behalf of the family, and said they are seeking the maximum possible sentence.

"We don't have the death penalty but we want the maximum that we can get," he said.

"To take someone who had their whole future ahead of them and shoot them and throw them in the lane like they're garbage — there's no words for that."

Singh's supporters were also in court today, but refused to speak on camera.

During the hearing, it was revealed that Singh's family helped him elude capture by buying fake U.S. identity documents for $150,000. Just before his arrest, Singh was planning to have plastic surgery in Las Vegas to alter his fingerprints.

Randhawa's cousin says the people who helped Singh should also face charges.

"We hold them a hundred per cent accountable as well. It's a shame for our whole community that someone like that does something like that and people support him," Randhawa said. "But we can also say our community has really stood behind us."

Singh's guilty plea to second-degree murder carries with it a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The Crown says it should be 17 to 20 years before he's eligible to apply for parole.

The sentencing hearing continues Thursday with submissions from the defence.

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