An Indian American woman in Southern California Dec. 16 was convicted of killing her newborn grandson because she feared her family would be shamed over the fact that her 15-year-old daughter had given birth, according to news reports.
KGET-TV reports that a Kern County jury found Beant Kaur Dhillon guilty of first-degree murder.
Investigators said Dhillon drowned the baby, and then she and a nephew buried the body in her backyard in 2018, according to the report.
In March, Jagsir Singh Dhillon, Beant Dhillon’s husband, was found dead in his home of an apparent suicide (see India-West article here: https://bit.ly/2WCsBiR).
The deceased was believed to have helped his wife kill the newborn.
According to police and local media reports, the Dhillons’ 15-year-old daughter — who is not being named, as she is underage — managed to hide her pregnancy from her parents. She gave birth to a baby in the bathroom of their Bakersfield home on Nov. 12, 2018.
Dhillon’s teenage daughter informed detectives that she was told the baby was taken somewhere to be adopted.
Later that evening, with the help of her husband and their nephew, 23-year-old Bakhshinderpal Singh Mann, her daughter's cousin who is believed to be the father of the baby, Beant Dhillon dug a hole in a flowerbed in the garden and buried the infant there, according to police.
Later the girl found out the baby was dead and told a social worker at school, who contacted police, a KBAK-TV report said.
Jasgir Dhillon and Beant Dhillon were arrested at the time and taken into custody. Jasgir was charged with being an accessory to murder and willful cruelty to a child. He was able to bail out, but Beant was held without bail. Bakhshinderpal Singh Mann was arrested and released on bail with a tracking device. He managed to remove the tracking device and now remains at large. He is also wanted by immigration authorities.
Beant Dhillon killed the child to hide that her daughter had been pregnant out of fear over what the Sikh community would think, said prosecutor John Allen, the report said.
Allen said it was a “correct, just” verdict.
Defense attorney David Torres said he was disappointed with the verdict.
Dhillon faces 25 years to life in prison when she is sentenced Jan. 21, it said.