A stepmother who strangled a nine-year-old girl to death because she was jealous of the child’s relationship with her father was jailed for life.
Shamdai Arjun, 58, was sentenced to 22 years to life in jail on Monday for murdering her stepdaughter, Ashdeep Kaur, in August 2016 in New York City, the Queens District Attorney announced.
Prosecutors said Arjun was motivated by bitter jealousy towards Ashdeep’s close relationship with her father, Sukhjinder Singh, who was married to Arjun, the New York Daily News reported.
Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan said: ‘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.’
Ashdeep was discovered by a neighbor who spotted Arjun leaving her home with her ex-husband, Raymond Narayan, and her two grandchildren on August 19, 2016.
Arjun told the neighbor that Ashdeep was in the bathroom washing her hair and was waiting for her father to pick her up.
Ashdeep had previously told her father that Arjun threatened to kill her, and that she beat her, and denied her food. The neighbor also noted that the bathroom light had been on for hours.
The neighbor called Singh, who told the neighbor to break down the door, which he did and discovered Ashdeep strangled in the bathtub.
Ashdeep had only been in the US for three months before she was killed by her stepmother, who she disliked living with because she said was beaten on multiple occasions.
Investigators said Arjun became jealous of Ashdeep who spoke to her father in their native tongue, Punjabi, which Arjun did not speak or understand, according to the New York Daily News.
Singh arrived to Arjun’s home and collapsed upon discovering the murder scene.
Arjun was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
She was convicted of the offense last month by a jury who took just one hour to agree she was guilty.
After her sentencing Monday, Ryan said: ‘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.’
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