BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Week two of the Beant Dhillon trial is underway, with Dhillon herself taking the stand and tearfully recalling the events that took place the night of Nov. 12, 2018. Dhillon is on trial accused of drowning her own grandson that evening, just hours after he was born.
Dhillon testified that on that evening, when her daughter locked herself in a bathroom, she was scared. She said when her son peered under the door only to see blood, she believed her daughter had tried to something she'd done previously: attempt suicide.
It was only when her nephew and the baby's supposed father, Bakhshinderpal Singh Mann, was able to get the door open that Dhillon discovered not only had her 15-year-old daughter been pregnant, she had just given birth.
During her testimony Tuesday, Dhillon stated that on the night her daughter gave birth, Dhillon's main concern was her daughter. When she and other family members entered the bathroom that night, Dhillon said she did look for the baby but that her own mother told her to care for her daughter, so that's what she did.
Dhillon testified that while she focused on her own daughter, she was not always aware of where Mann was. She testified in court that for about 30 minutes, she was taking care of her daughter in the master bathroom while Mann remained back in the hallway bathroom.
The defense also attempted to undercut Dhillon's original testimony to detectives back in 2019.
Defense attorney David A. Torres played a recording of the initial interview, asking Dhillon how she felt during that interview. Dhillon said at that time she was scared for her family and her "society", meaning the Punjabi community. Dhillon said she was scared of what would happen if her community found out her daughter had gotten pregnant out of wedlock by her cousin.
At one point in the recording, police ask Dhillon about the time she was in the master bathroom before returning to the hallway bathroom. Audibly upset in the recording, she said 5 to 7 minutes.
Torres asked Dhillon if this was inaccurate and she said yes. Dhillon testified that she was "very scared" when she interviewed with police and worried for her family.
Under cross-examination, Prosecutor John Allen continuously asked Dhillon about statements she made to the police during that initial interview that contradicted her testimony Tuesday. Aside from the time Dhillon spent away from the hallway bathroom, the prosecution asked about her statement to police about hearing a baby cry and her confession to drowning the infant.
Dhillon held that her testimony Tuesday was correct and she only took the blame to protect her nephew, Bakhshinderpal Singh Mann, who burried the baby in the backyard.