Family of murdered student speak of loss and pain at ex-boyfriend’s sentencing

A man who pleaded guilty to gunning down his ex-girlfriend on a British Columbia university campus will serve 21 years of a life sentence before he is eligible for parole.

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — A man who pleaded guilty to gunning down his ex-girlfriend on a British Columbia university campus will serve 21 years of a life sentence before he is eligible for parole.

Twenty-four-year-old Gurjinder Dhaliwal read a statement in B.C. Supreme Court at his sentencing hearing, apologizing to Maple Batalia’s family and friends, and telling them he knows he did a terrible thing.

He pleaded guilty last week to second-degree murder in the death of the aspiring actress and model.

Friends and family of the 19-year-old woman told the court in victim impact statements that they still feel the pain of her loss every single day.

Dhaliwal shot Batalia to death in the parking lot of Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus after seeing her with a male classmate in September 2011.

An agreed statement of facts describes how Dhaliwal became enraged and shot Batalia three times in the back before slashing her head with a knife and fleeing in a rental vehicle.

Justice Terence Schultes said it was a combination of Dhaliwal’s jealousy, immaturity and access to weapons that led to Batalia’s killing.

The sound of sobbing filled the packed New Westminster courtroom while Sarbjit Batalia spoke of how she wishes she had died in her daughter’s place.

Batalia turned to Dhaliwal and asked through her tears: “Give me an answer, please. Why did you kill my daughter?”