UPDATE: Former boyfriend enters guilty plea in Maple Batalia murder
The former boyfriend of slain Surrey teen Maple Batalia has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in her death in court this morning.
Batalia, 19, was gunned down after a late-night study session at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus on Sept. 28, 2011. She was studying to become a dermatologist, but was also an aspiring actress and model.
In December 2012, Batalia’s former boyfriend Gurjinder (Gary) Dhaliwal was charged with first-degree murder. Dhaliwal’s “associate” Gursimar Singh Bedi was charged with manslaughter and being an accessory after the fact. While Bedi was released, Dhaliwal has been in custody since his arrest.
Crown prosecutor Wendy Stephen said outside the court today Dhaliwal will be sentenced to life in prison. On Monday, the judge will determine Dhaliwal’s parole eligibility. A joint submission by the Defence and Crown was entered today asking for 21 years before Dhaliwal is eligible for parole.
Stephen said it’s probably the highest sentence given to somebody convicted of killing one person, as opposed to multiple people.
Dhaliwal’s alleged “associate” Gursimar Singh Bedi will also get his court date on Monday.
Stephen said Dhaliwal was a jealous ex-boyfriend.
“[Maple] has told him the relationship was over,” Stephen said. “She was moving on, but he did not want that to occur. He became enraged when he saw her with another man, who happened to be a friend.”
The judge heard there was a pattern of harassment that went on for years between Dhaliwal and Batalia.
On the night of the murder, the court heard Batalia was shot at five times, three of which hit her torso. She also had 11 cuts on the top and back of her head.
Maple’s mother Sarbjit Batalia was sobbing as the details of how her daughter died were read in court.
Last week, Sarbjit told Global News the family wants their privacy respected during the trial.
“It is really hard for us,” she said. “We are very upset. We are waiting for justice now.”
Maple’s sister Roseleen is expected to read a victim impact statement in court on Monday.
Last year, Batalia’s family launched an online petition addressed to the federal government, asking for the justice system to be reformed to cater to the needs and rights of victims and their families.
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