UPDATE: Jealousy allegedly fueled Burien murder; Defendant pleads not guilty
Update for Sept. 18
From the King County Prosecutor's Office:
Jaspal Gill was arraigned on Sept. 17 and pleaded not guilty to charges of Murder Second Degree for the shooting death of an unarmed man in Burien on August 28.
Gill allegedly argued with the victim, Harjit Singh, and then shot him multiple times. Gill, 47, remains in jail on $3 million bail. A case setting hearing is scheduled for October 4 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center.
Original post on Sept. 6
Burien resident Jaspal Gill, 47, is in jail with a $3 million bail and is facing a second degree murder charge with a sentencing range of 15 to 23 years in prison for allegedly gunning down victim Harjit Singh, also of Burien, on Aug. 28.
The Highline Times followed the story as it developed, found here.
According to probable cause documents filed by the King County Prosecutors Office, the murder was allegedly rooted in Gill’s long term suspicion that Singh was involved in a romantic relationship with his ex-wife. Gill allegedly approached Singh at his ex-wife’s home on 8th Ave. S, pulled a handgun from a paper bag and fired multiple shots into the victim’s chest from close range. By the time paramedics arrived, Singh was dead.
Gill was married to his ex-wife Daljit Gill (referred to as Daljit from here on out) in 1992 and they had three children together before divorcing in 2007. From 2001 to 2004, victim Singh lived with the family and became a close family friend. According to detectives, he was known as a brother to the Gills and “uncle” to their children.
At the end of that stay, in 2004, court documents state Gill accused Daljit and Singh of having an affair. The accusation led to a crumbling of the marriage and eventual divorce.
According to family members and witnesses, Singh remained a close friend of Daljit and her children after the divorce, helping out with household tasks and giving the children rides in his cab.
Detectives believe the relationship “caused (Gill) to become more jealous and angry over the years,” and, allegedly, Gill told his ex-wife, “I’m going to kill him (meaning Singh),” two to three years ago.
After the divorce, Gill moved out of the family home to an apartment on S. 152nd St., about a mile away. Over the years, court documents reveal Daljit became the primary caregiver for their children and Gill would regularly pick them up for visits.
In January of 2012, the relationship between exes took a turn for the worse when Gill had the children for a visit and drove past his ex-wife’s home where he saw victim Singh’s vehicle parked out front (Daljit told detectives he was there to help repair a water heater). Gill “became very upset” at the sight and dropped the children off in the driveway, allegedly telling them he no longer wanted joint custody of them.
Since that incident, Daljit told detectives Gill had only seen the children twice and the interactions were filled with tension.
On Aug. 28 around 5 p.m., the situation came to a tragic head, according to court documents. Victim Singh was driving one of the Gill’s daughters to Daljit’s home after visiting her grandmother in the hospital. He pulled his green Farwest taxi van into the driveway and the daughter got out, noticing a green Ford Mustang she did not recognize parked across the street.
The Mustang suddenly pulled in behind the taxi, blocking Singh in and the daughter watched her father emerge from the passenger side door. The driver was later identified as a friend of Gill’s.
Sensing trouble, the daughter yelled for her brother to come outside. She allegedly watched as her father approached Singh, call her mother a derogatory name in Punjabi, open the driver side door, pull a handgun out of a paper bag and start firing at the man she knew as “uncle.”
Gill and his accomplice fled in the Mustang and deputies rushed to the shooting scene to find Singh still sitting in the driver’s seat with five gunshot wounds to his chest. The taxi was still running and resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.
Approximately 45 minutes later, Gill called 911 from his cell phone to report he had gotten into a fight with another man who tried to shoot him. He told dispatchers he was outside the Burien police station and when asked if he had shot someone, Gill replied, “I don’t know, you please need to come here and arrest me.”
Gill was taken into custody without incident and allegedly told police, “I was just trying to protect myself and my kids. I didn’t do anything wrong. He tried to kill me and run me over with his car, so I shot him.”
Detectives wrote that Gill smelled strongly of “intoxicants” during the interview and broke down emotionally several times. “(Gill) referred to Daljit as his wife throughout the interview, not his ex-wife,” detectives said. “He said that he was not divorced, that they were only separated."
Deputies located the alleged getaway driver shortly thereafter and recovered the alleged murder weapon from his apartment. He told authorities Gill had asked if he would like to go get some food and, as they drove towards Subway, Gill asked that he stop at his ex-wife’s home for a moment so he could set up a visitation time with the kids.
Gill does not have any prior criminal convictions, but the King County Prosecutor’s Office stated he “appears (to have) a history of abuse and hostility towards his ex-wife and the victim …” including a 2004 domestic violence incident where Gill allegedly told police he “beat” his wife because she did not make him “feel like a man.”
“Given that it appears the defendant was determined to carry out this killing despite the consequences to himself or his children, he clearly presents a serious risk to the community if released without significant bail,” prosecutors wrote.
Gill will be arraigned on a second degree murder charge with a firearm enhancement on Sept. 13 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center, courtroom GA.