Abbotsford man guilty of 2nd-degree murder in stabbing death of his younger sister

Published: November 28, 2013
Abbotsford

Abbotsford police and The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) investigate the “suspicious death” of a 34-year-old Abbotsford woman who was found in a suite at 32153 Austin Avenue. Nick Procaylo/ PNG

JENNIFER SALTMAN
VANCOUVER DESI

An Abbotsford man has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2010 death of his younger sister, who was stabbed more than a dozen times.

Counsel for Harmohinder Singh Khosa, 43, had argued that he should be found not guilty due to a mental disorder, but Justice Miriam Maisonville concluded that at the time of the killing, Khosa, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, was aware that murdering his sister was both legally and morally wrong.

Maisonville delivered her decision Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

On July 21, 2010, Khosa received a call from a family member to pick up his mother, Baljinder, at the home she shared with her 34-year-old daughter Amarjit. Amarjit suffered from schizophrenia and often argued with her mother and sometimes became physically abusive. Khosa picked up his mother and brought her to his home.

Khosa’s father had died in the 1980s and Khosa, the eldest of four children, had assumed a protective role in the family. He took responsibility for Amarjit when she was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the late 1990s, a few years after his own diagnosis.

After Khosa picked up his mother, his sister called his house a number of times. Maisonville said Khosa became overwhelmed and decided to kill his sister to prevent her from endangering herself or causing their family worry or shame.

Khosa took a steak knife from his home and drove over to confront his sister. The two argued and Khosa told her, “Amarjit you have bothered us too much” before stabbing her in the neck area 13 times.

Khosa then returned home, where he cleaned and hid the knife and washed the blood from his clothes.

“He was angry and frustrated and thought it was to Amarjit’s benefit to kill her — but he knew the act was morally and legally wrong,” Maisonville said.

Khosa admitted to killing his sister, but his lawyer argued that Khosa was delusional and had a psychotic break when he killed Amarjit.

When Khosa was first diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, he heard voices — relatives and Guru Nanak Dev — had hallucinations and believed that people were conspiring against him. He has controlled his illness with medication for almost 20 years and had only one instance of being in an acute state in 2007.

Khosa testified at trial that a voice had told him on July 21, 2010 that to save his sister he had to kill her. Maisonville said although Khosa had heard voices in the past, they were never commanding or telling him to do things outside his moral beliefs. Instead, they were reassuring and non-violent.

“He did hear a voice but only after he decided to kill her,” Maisonville concluded.

She accepted testimony from relatives that Khosa was withdrawn, quieter than usual and talking to Guru Nanak the day of the murder, but said that did not signify the onset of an acute psychotic episode.

“There were no other signs he was moving into an acute phase,” Maisonville said.

Maisonville said Khosa had rationally weighed his options and decided to kill Amarjit.

“This was not due to his mental disorder. This, I find, was due to his anger and frustration with respect to his sister as well as his feeling that this was the only permanent solution,” Maisonville said.

The automatic sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison, however the period of parole ineligibility can vary from a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of 25 years.

Crown and defence plan to make a joint sentencing submission on Dec. 20.

jensaltman@theprovince.com

twitter.com/jensaltman

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