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Indian-origin woman jailed for 22 years for strangling 9-year-old stepdaughter to death

Indian-origin woman jailed for 22 years for strangling 9-year-old stepdaughter to death: A 58-year-old Indian-origin woman convicted of murdering her nine-year-old stepdaughter has been sentenced to 22 years life in prison in the United States. Nine-year-old Ashdeep Kaur was strangled to death in the bathtub, a crime described as “unimaginable” by the court.

Indian-origin woman jailed for killing stepdaughter

Shamdai Arjun aged 55, a dweller of Queens, New York was convicted last month of second-degree murder by a jury that deliberated for less than one hour before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. She was sentenced Monday to an indeterminate term of 22 years to life in prison.

According to trial testimony, on the evening of August 19, 2016, an eye-witness observed Ashdeep’s step-mother Shamdai Arjun, exiting the family home in Queens, New York and getting into the car with her former husband Raymond Narayan and her two grandchildren, aged three and five.

When she was asked about the nine-year-old victim’s whereabouts, Arjun informed that the child was in the bathroom and was waiting for her father to pick her up.

The eyewitness, who observed that from approx. two hours the bathroom light had been on, then called the victim’s father and was instructed to break through the bathroom door, at which time she found the deceased victim in the bathtub.

A report filed by the Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the cause of death was manual strangulation.

Kaur’s relatives had also said that the young girl had been previously abused by Arjun, who had been entrusted with her care while Singh worked in a local restaurant. Kaur had arrived in the US from India just three months before she was killed in August 2016 and was living with her father and Arjun in an apartment in Queens that was shared with another couple. The housemate had seen Kaur go in the bathroom with Arjun, who later came out alone and left the building. She allegedly said that Kaur was taking a bath.

New York Police Department detectives had then gone to Narayan’s residence and found him, Arjun and the two grandchildren inside the apartment.

Last month, a jury found the  Arjun guilty of second-degree murder after deliberating for less than an hour. On Monday, Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth C. Holder, who presided at the trial, sentenced Arjun to an indeterminate term of 22 years to life in prison.

“The defendant, in this case, goes beyond the tales of evil stepmothers. This defendant committed the unimaginable – she wrapped her hands around her stepdaughter’s little neck and squeezed the life out of her,” Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan said in a harsh statement after the verdict. “The victim was an innocent child and just nine years old. The Court has imposed a sentence that will likely guarantee this woman never sees freedom again. The sentence of the Court is more than warranted in this tragic case,” Ryan said.