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Indian-origin techie who confessed to killing family sentenced to life by US court

Hangud, 55, confessed to killing his wife and three children

knife_final Representative image | Reuters

Shankar Nagappa Hangud, an Indian-origin IT professional in the US who dramatically confessed to killing his wife and three children in 2019 in a week-long crime spree, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Investigators said Hangud, 55, confessed to killing his wife and three children over several days at his apartment in California, saying he could not provide for them financially, KCRA-TV reported on Wednesday.

He declined to comment during sentencing in Placer County, the report said.

Hangud made national headlines after walking into the Mount Shasta Police Department, 320 kilometres north of Roseville, telling officers he had killed four people.

Roseville Police later found the bodies of his wife and two daughters in the family’s apartment on Junction Road. The fourth body, that of his son, was found in his car parked outside the police station in Mount Shasta.

Police said at the time they believed Hangud killed his family during a week-long crime spree, murdering his wife and daughters over the course of three days.

Hangud allegedly murdered his wife, his daughter and his youngest son on October 7 in their Roseville apartment at the Woodcreek West complex on Junction Boulevard.

He later killed his older son, somewhere between Roseville and Mount Shasta, where he surrendered to police on October 13 with his son's body. The victims were identified as Jyothi Shankar, 46; Varum Shankar, 20; Gauri Hangud, 16; and Nischal Hangud, 13.

Hangud was arrested shortly after the killings. He initially pleaded not guilty to the murders in 2019 but last month changed his plea, entering guilty pleas to three counts of first-degree murder for his three children and one count of deliberately aiding his wife in committing suicide, The Sacramento Bee newspaper reported.

“The deaths of these young victims touched this community very deeply, and although there are no family members left to see justice served, many in our community remember the victims from school or from their neighbourhood,” Placer County Chief Assistant District Attorney David Tellman said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Hangud claimed to be in despair after losing his IT job and dealing with a marriage that was falling apart.

“It’s hard to reconcile with the facts that this tragedy could happen because someone couldn’t get employed. But it’s an old-world, patriarchal thought pattern where if he can’t be a provider, he doesn’t want his family to have nothing. So he kills his family,” Tellman said.

The district attorney's office said that because of the special circumstances of killing more than one person the Roseville father would get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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