A 28-year-old Indian-American man has been convicted of murder of another person from the community outside a gurdwara in the US state of California. Gurpreet Singh Gosal was convicted of killing Parmjit Pamma Singh, 26, outside the Bradshaw gurdwara in Sacramento during a Sikh sports festival on August 31, 2008.
Gosal is facing a possible sentence of 35 years to life in prison after a jury at the Sacramento Superior Court convicted him of second-degree murder on Friday.
"I think the jury did a good job," said Deputy District Attorney Anthony Ortiz, who had asked the panel for a first-degree conviction on Gosal under an aiding and abetting theory, the Sacramento Bee reported on Saturday.
"The case had some major issues and they worked through them, and I think they came to a just verdict."
The jurors, however, found that Gosal fired a weapon but did not hit anybody during a confrontation that broke out between a friend of his and the victim. Witnesses said it was the friend, identified as Amandeep Singh Dhami, who killed Singh as a result of a long-simmering dispute between the two.
Dhami fled with the help of some people who came to his assistance after the shooting, and he is believed to be living in India, authorities said.
Rick Fender, one of the members of the jury, said the panel was badly split at the beginning of its deliberations, with the votes ranging from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter. "There was going to have to be some compromise in this case," Fender said.
Although an aider and abettor can be considered just as guilty as the shooter, Fender said "there was softness in people's judgment" of Gosal because he didn't actually shoot anybody.
"And time has passed," Fender said. "He looked like an upstanding young man, dressed for court and his family here. All of that kind of weighs on people." Gosal's sentencing has been sheduled for August 9.