A major plea deal was made in Calgary court Friday as murder charges were dropped against two men accused in the fatal shooting of Pirtpal Jhajj, 24, a decade ago.
On Friday afternoon, Sanjit Ranhu — who was facing a first-degree murder charge — pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Prosecutor Britta Kristensen stayed the second-degree murder charge faced by Ranhu's co-accused, Amritpal Singh, whose defence lawyer, Derek Jugnauth, appeared on his client's behalf.
Kristensen indicated the plea deal was struck because of numerous issues with the Crown's case including lost disclosure and issues with witnesses.
'Killers snatched him in couple minutes'
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Beth Hughes accepted Kristensen and defence lawyer Daniel Song's joint submission for a 10-year sentence. With credit for the time he's already spent behind bars, Ranhu has six years, four months left to serve.
Kristensen read aloud victim impact statements written by Jhajj's parents and sister.
"Killers please take all what I have but give me my son in return. Can you do that??" wrote his parents. "God blessed me with Pirtpal after 16 years of prayers ... and killers snatched him in couple minutes."
On May 12, 2007, an ongoing conflict between two groups of friends boiled over with a shootout between two vehicles in Chestermere, east of Calgary.
The driver of a Ford Expedition, the SUV Jhajj was travelling in, drove to Calgary to escape the offender's vehicle.
'He walks with me as shadow'
One of the passengers from the Expedition called 911 and EMS met the victims on 17th Avenue at 53rd Street S.E. Jhajj and two others who'd been shot in the same vehicle were taken to hospital. Jhajj was pronounced dead when he arrived.
Jhajj had been shot in the back and leg.
The RCMP investigation revealed gunshot residue on Ranhu's seized clothing. Investigators found the VW station wagon believed to be used in the shooting riddled with bullet holes and blood stains inside.
Two guns were used in the shooting, including a shotgun and an A-47-style semi-automatic.
Ranhu and Singh weren't arrested until 2015.
Kiran Brar also wrote a victim impact statement about her brother's death.
"Miss my baby brother at every occasion, every moment, every day he walks with me as shadow."