Father pleads guilty to killing son outside school

Friday, December 24, 2004

LIBERTY, Mo. -- A 43-year-old man who shot his son while arguing with his wife in a school parking lot has pleaded guilty to killing the boy. The agreement spares him a possible death sentence.

Jaswinder P. Singh, of Excelsior Springs, pulled out a revolver and fired several shots during the confrontation with his wife outside St. James Catholic School in the Kansas City suburb of Liberty on Nov. 7, 2002.

Kawaldeep Singh, 9, who witnesses said had stepped between his parents, died at the scene.

The wife, Mandeep Kaur Singh, was wounded.

In exchange for his guilty plea to one count of first-degree murder, Jaswinder Singh is expected to be sentenced to life in prison, Jim Roberts of the Clay County prosecutor's office said Thursday. Circuit Judge James Welsh set sentencing for Feb. 18.

Prosecutors had planned to seek the death penalty for Singh, but agreed to drop that effort in light of his plea. Additional charges of first-degree assault and two counts of armed criminal action are expected to be dismissed when Singh is sentenced, the prosecutor's office said.

"This was the senseless killing of a 9-year-old boy," Clay County prosecutor Dan White said Wednesday.

"Singh will not be in a position to endanger the lives of others in the community or his family."

The Singhs, who owned a convenience store in Excelsior Springs, had been having marriage problems, attorneys have said.

Jaswinder Singh apparently had followed his wife and a female friend as they drove to the school to pick up Kawaldeep and a younger sister on the afternoon of the shootings.

The sister was outside the building when Singh began shooting, but was not hurt.

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