Father found not guilty in Marine killing

February 1, 2008 1:11:09 PM PST
A Houston father has been found not guilty of murder in the shooting death of his daughter's Marine boyfriend. The jury got the case yesterday and deliberated until Friday afternoon, at which time they found Hardeep Grewal not guilty of murder in the shooting death of Nitan Sarangapani.

Before the lives of Grewal and Sarangapani collided, both lived the American dream. Both immigrants from India, Grewal worked full time and successfully ran small businesses. Sarangapani was a Marine reservist and had just celebrated his 24th birthday.

The night of the birthday celebration, he took out Grewal's daughter, Nina. Just hours later, Sarangapani was dead.

Sarangapani died after he was hit in the chest by a single bullet from Grewal's semi-automatic gun. The 41-year-old business owner said he had no choice, that he shot in self-defense. The state and the victim's family calls what happened murder.

For nearly a week, a jury listened to the facts of the case.

During closing arguments, Grewal's lawyer, Nicole Deborde, said, "We talk about witnesses who testify during this trial and not a (single) witness has demonstrated it was anything more than self-defense."

Still, prosecutor Spence Graham insisted Grewal did not have to shoot.

"The whole point of this case is that he acted (unreasonably), he did not have to kill Nitin Sarangapani," he told jurors.

The morning of the deadly shooting, Sarangapani came to the family's Champions home and was heard screaming insults outside.

Grewal claims he did not know who was outside and thought it was an intruder. The last witness to testify on the Houston father's behalf was his wife, Surinder. On the stand, she wept, when she was asked to remember how she reacted when she found out the person her husband killed was her daughter's boyfriend.

We'll have more on this story on Eyewitness News at 4pm.

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