Ninderjit Singh's defence lawyers have told the judge at his sentencing hearing he should only have to serve 10 years in prison before he is eligible for parole because of his troubled childhood.

Singh has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend, Poonam Randhawa, 18, back in 1999. He will automatically be sentenced to life in prison, but the judge must rule when he is eligible to apply for parole.

Yesterday, at the sentencing hearing at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Crown prosecutors argued it should be 17 to 20 years before Singh is eligible to apply for parole.

 

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Ninderjit Singh, left, in 2011 and in 1999 (right). After Singh fled to Seattle, and then flew to California, he gained weight, grew a beard, and allegedly obtained a false U.S. Social Security number. (Santa Monica PD)

But on Thursday morning, Singh's lawyer Russ Chamberlain said although it was no excuse for murder, the judge in the case should consider Singh's dysfunctional upbringing in the sentencing.

Chamberlain told the judge Singh never knew his own father and was insecure as a result, and that insecurity led to the jealousy that was the motive for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, not a cold-blooded desire to kill.

Chamberlain also noted Singh will be deported to India upon his release from prison and read a statement from Singh's wife Navdeep, who said he's a good husband and father for their two daughters.

After Chamberlain presented his arguments the sentencing hearing wrapped up on Thursday afternoon. Singh will be sentenced on April 10.

During the hearing the court also heard how after the murder, Singh fled to the United States, where he says he paid $1,700 for new identity papers — not $150,000 as the court was told on Wednesday.

Police apprehended Singh 12 years later with the help of police in California, where he had altered his appearance and was allegedly living, married, under an alias.

Just before his arrest, Singh was planning to have plastic surgery in Las Vegas to alter his fingerprints, the court was told yesterday.