Utah teenager sentenced in Indian American grocer’s killing

Photo Courtesy: gunmemorial.org

Satnam Singh was shot and killed on Feb. 28, 2021, while tending to his Ogden convenience store

A Utah teenager has been sentenced in the death of Indian American grocer Satnam Singh who was shot and killed on Feb. 28, 2021, while tending to his Ogden convenience store.

Antonio Gianny Garcia, 16, pleaded guilty to felony illegal discharge of a firearm and aggravated robbery in Singh’s death as part of a deal with prosecutors, the Standard-Examiner reported.

Second District Judge Jennifer Valencia gave Garcia two sentences of five years to life, to be served consecutively on Nov. 22.

Read: Kerala girl shot dead in Alabama (December 1, 2021)

Under the sentence, Garcia will be held in the juvenile justice system until he turns 21 and then will receive an initial parole hearing before the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. He could be paroled or spend more years in prison.

Charging documents said 16-year-old Antonio Gianny Garcia, 15 at the time, entered Super Grocery late the night of Feb. 28, pointed a gun at Singh, 65, and said “This is a stickup.” Singh moved away from the counter and Garcia fired four shots, hitting Singh three times.

“This pain is never going to go away. I just want my daddy back,” Singh’s teenage daughter said during Garcia’s sentencing. She said Garcia deserves “life in prison and he should never see sunlight.”

The girl said her father’s death was “the worst thing. We were best friends and he was the person I loved best in the whole world. He made me feel so loved and protected.”

She said she had just received her learner’s permit and they were excited that he would be teaching her to drive. “This pain is never going to go away,” she said. “We have a deep hole in our hearts.”

Heidi Nestel, a victims’ rights attorney who has worked with Singh’s family, spoke about Singh’s value to his family and the community. ‘

The immigrant from India was beloved by his customers and neighbors and was working that night because he picked up a shift of one of his employees, she was quoted as saying.

“It’s impossible to summarize the incredible life of this fine man,” Nestel said. “He was known for helping people in need. He offered advice. He cared about their lives.”

She described the impact of his loss on his three daughters and added that his wife “has struggled the most.” Nestel said Singh’s widow says it’s “hard to breathe every day.”

Nestel quoted Singh’s widow as saying, “He was the glue to my family. I have lost everything. I want justice. I do not want this kid on the street ever.”

According to a court document outlining the guilty plea, Garcia told police that when Singh moved away from the counter, he thought Singh was going for a gun or other weapon and he “acted on instinct” and fired.

He said he thought “it would be me or him,” so he fired. He said he fled the store and did not realize his shots hit Singh. Garcia told officers he bought the gun but would not identify the seller.

Read: Utah Teenager Sentenced in Indian American Store Owner’s Shooting Death (December 1, 2021)

Nestel pointed out that Garcia consumed marijuana and alcohol and that on the day of the killing he was on amphetamines. “There is nothing in Garcia’s life that explains or justifies this callous taking of a human life,” Nestel said. “It was a greedy, selfish, depraved disregard for human life.”

“I am sorry for all the pain and suffering I have caused,” Garcia said. “My intentions were not good (but) I never planned on taking the life of a good man.” He said he appreciated an eventual chance to get out on parole “to prove that I can change.”

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