Jeff Lagerquist, CTVNews.ca Writer
A B.C. father who arranged to have his wife stabbed to death inside their family home has been convicted of first-degree murder alongside the man he hired to carry out the grisly attack.
Amanpreet Bahia was found face down in a pool of blood on her kitchen floor, with stab wounds to her back and neck in February 2007.
Her husband Baljinder Singh Bahia and Eduard Baranec were sentenced to life in prison with no opportunity for parole for 25 years.
“I’ve never seen a slashing of a woman as brutal as this, myself, in 50 years of practice,” defence lawyer Russ Chamberlain told CTV Vancouver.
Two of Amanpreet’s daughters, ages one and three at the time, were left alone for hours in the Cloverdale, B.C. home before Bahia’s in-laws discovered her body in the kitchen. Amanpreet’s youngest was found crying next to her mother’s body.
The court heard that Baljinder orchestrated his wife’s murder and hired Baranec to carry it out.
A third person, Tanpreet Athwal, is also charged with first degree murder in the case, but has not gone to trial. Athwal is said to have been intimately involved with Baljinder at the time of his wife’s murder.
Amanpreet’s death remained a mystery for years before her husband and the two co-accused were arrested in 2011.
For years, the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team worked the case alongside the provincial unsolved homicide unit. Saskatchewan’s RCMP Major Crime Historical Case Unit provided investigators with new information in December 2010 that led to the three suspects’ arrest.
Amanpreet’s relatives say while the dual verdicts provide some closure in the nearly decade-long tragedy, they will never fully recover from the loss to their family.
“(It will) never get better. When we are thinking about the kids, I have kids too,” said Amanpreet’s sister-in-law Sandhu.
Amanpreet’s two youngest daughters are in the care of their paternal grandparents. Her oldest daughter is now in her first year of university. They have not seen their father since 2011, when all three suspects were arrested.
“We are satisfied that justice has been done. But we are not happy. We will never be happy,” said Amanpreet’s brother Jugraj Kahlon.
Baljinder plans to appeal his conviction.