Jurors wasted no time rendering a guilty verdict against a Richmond Hill woman who strangled her 9-year-old stepdaughter in a bathtub back in August 2016, prosecutors announced.
Shamdai Arjun, 55, of 112th Street could spend the rest of her life behind bars after being convicted on May 10 of second-degree murder. According to acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan, the jury needed less than an hour to make their decision following the two-week-long trial.
“This is a horrifying case of a defenseless 9-year-old child, who was to be cared for by her stepmother, but was instead strangled to death by her,” Ryan said in a May 13 statement. “Her actions are truly incomprehensible and deserve the maximum punishment allowed under the law.”
Law enforcement sources said Arjun killed Ashdeep Kaur on the afternoon of Aug. 19, 2016, inside of a home on 112th Street near 95th Avenue.
Prosecutors said that an eyewitness spotted Arjun leaving the home with her husband and two grandchildren at 5:30 p.m. on that day and asked about Ashdeep’s whereabouts. Arjun told the witness that the child was in the bathroom and waiting for her father to pick her up.
The eyewitness testified at trial to seeing the bathroom light on inside the home since at least 3 p.m. The witness then called the victim’s father and was instructed to break through the bathroom door.
Once inside, the witness found Kaur unconscious inside the bathtub. Officers from the 102nd Precinct and EMS units rushed to the scene; Kaur was pronounced dead a short time later. Through an autopsy, the Medical Examiner’s office determined that the child died of manual strangulation.
Detectives located Arjun a short time later at a nearby home and took her into custody following questioning.
Arjun will be sentenced on June 3, and faces up to 25 years to life in prison, Ryan noted.