Woman who killed mother-in-law to save unborn daughter acquitted

Published: May 2, 2014

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IANS

Washington – After nearly two years in custody, a  woman who admitted to killing her 68-year-old mother-in-law in 2012 has been released from a California jail after a jury acquitted her of first-degree murder.

The not guilty verdict came after Baljinder Kaur’s defence lawyer Mani Sidhu argued that she killed her mother-in-law Baljit Kaur in their Yuba City, California home on Oct 24, 2012, to save her unborn daughter from gender-based infanticide.

According to local media reports, Sidhu  argued that Baljinder Kaur, 39, was a battered woman, whose mother-in-law abused her and sought to force the end of Kaur’s pregnancy because the baby was a girl.

Kaur testified that her mother-in-law took her to get an abortion, which she avoided.

Sidhu said Kaur fought the woman to defend her unborn daughter, otherwise, the child would have been another victim of gender-based infanticide, which has taken the lives of tens of millions of Indian girls, he said.

The murder trial began April 15 and lasted just eight days. The jury deliberated for a day and a half.

“We believe she acted in self-defence of her child,” juror Michelle Struhs, 47, of Yuba City told local news publication Appeal-Democrat.

“We didn’t feel that our conclusion was perfect,” Struhs said. “We felt she was ‘not guilty’ rather than ‘innocent.’ We could not find her guilty based on the law.”

According to prosecutor Cameron King,  jurors simply believed Kaur was an abused woman.

None of Kaur’s family members attended hearings leading up to the trial and the courtroom audience was sparse over the last two weeks, according to Appeal-Democrat

When the verdict was announced, Kaur – wearing jeans, a sweater and a thick black braid down her back – took her hands to her face and sobbed, the news site said.

According to Sidhu, since Kaur’s April 25 release from jail, she’s  maintained her privacy and avoided media for safety reasons.

“She is safe and with her family,” he said.

Kaur has been in custody since Oct 26, 2012 and gave birth to her second daughter while in prison, according to Appeal-Democrat.

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IANS 2014-05-02 13:04:05

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