Surrey, B.C., man found guilty of murdering his partner in a Kelowna hotel room
Judge rules Tejwant Danjou understood his actions despite drinking earlier in the day
A judge has found a man from Surrey, B.C., guilty of second-degree murder, ruling that Tejwant Danjou intended to kill his partner or at least knew his violent actions could lead to her death.
Rama Gauravarapu was killed at a hotel in West Kelowna on July 22, 2018.
Competing explanations of Danjou's state of mind were presented to Justice Allison Beames of the B.C. Supreme Court during closing arguments last month at his trial for second-degree murder.
The Crown said Danjou was an abusive and violent man.
The defence asked for a manslaughter conviction and described Danjou as suffering from delusions about his partner's fidelity.
Beames said there was no doubt Danjou killed Gauravarapu. She said the only thing for her to decide in the trial by judge alone was whether he was guilty of manslaughter or second-degree murder.
"The difference between murder and manslaughter is intent," she explained in delivering her verdict on Thursday.
The cause of Gauravarapu's death was listed as blunt force trauma, but she had 52 areas of injury, the judge said.
Gauravarapu suffered injuries to her face, had defensive wounds on her arms and hands, and had a 20 centimetre cut to her neck.
The court heard the couple had a rocky three-year relationship with several previous accounts of violence committed by Danjou against her.
Danjou was described as a jealous partner who accused Gauravarapu of having affairs. A doctor for the defence said he had "delusional disorder jealousy type," among other mental health issues, which included a drinking problem.
On the day of the murder, the couple spent hours at a winery, which court heard ended in arguments and Danjou getting a separate room at the hotel.
Later, they were in the same room when staff received noise complaints. A staff member who went to check noticed blood on Danjou's clothes and Gauravarapu on the floor with a swollen face before the police were called.
'Acted with purpose and foresight'
"There is abundant evidence that shows Mr. Danjou acted with purpose and foresight," said Beames.
Danjou also showed intent after he fled the hotel room and travelled a considerable distance on foot before hiding in a dumpster, where he was caught, Beames said.
"His route once he left the hotel was not aimless, but rather was logical.
"All of the evidence of Mr. Danjou's conduct, before and after the events, show that he was acting purposefully and in a cogent manner."
The defence said he was intoxicated, but Beames said: "I am satisfied Mr. Danjou was not intoxicated or impaired to the degree that it affected his ability to understand and foresee the consequences of his assault."
Sentencing has been set for Sept. 14.