The following comes from an Apr. 26 story in the Santa Rosa Democrat.

Baljinder Kaur was released from Sutter County Jail on Friday afternoon after a jury returned a verdict of not guilty for the October 2012 killing of her mother-in-law.

She was charged with first-degree murder after confessing to killing Baljit Kaur, 68, with an ax in their Yuba City home. Baljinder Kaur has been in custody since Oct. 26, 2012, and gave birth to her second daughter while an inmate.

Defense attorney Mani Sidhu told jurors Thursday that Kaur saved the life of her unborn daughter when she killed her in-law. The child could have been another victim of the gender-based infanticide that has taken the lives of 100 million Indian girls, he said.

“We believe she acted in self-defense of her child,” said juror Michelle Struhs, 47, of Yuba City, who said the jurors’ decision was very difficult.

“We didn’t feel that our conclusion was perfect,” Struhs said. “We felt she was ‘not guilty’ rather than ‘innocent.’ We could not find her guilty based on the law.”

The murder trial began April 15 and lasted just eight days. The jury deliberated for a day and a half.

“I think there wasn’t a lot of dispute of the facts,” said prosecutor Cameron King. “Why she did it was the question.”

He said jurors just simply believed Kaur was an abused woman.

None of Kaur’s family members attended hearings leading up to the trial, and the courtroom audience was sparse over the last two weeks.

When the verdict was announced, Kaur — who has worn jeans, a sweater and a thick black braid down her back — dropped her face into her hands and sobbed.

Sidhu asked the jurors on Thursday to send Kaur home so she can return to her daughters.


To read the original story, click here.