Disturbing testimony in Marine murder trial

January 30, 2008 4:25:21 PM PST
There was disturbing testimony Wednesday in the case of a man who shot and killed his daughter's boyfriend. The prosecutors detailed the damage the bullet caused to Nitin Saragapani and now we're hearing the 911 calls the father made right before the shooting. Before Hardeep Grewal picked up his AK-47 and fatally shot Sarangapani, 24, he called 911.

"There's someone at my door, Coral Ridge Road and the light is off," Grewal said to the dispatcher.

"There's someone at your door?" asked the dispatcher.

"Yeah," Grewal responded. "Did you hear that?"

"Are they saying anything?" asked the dispatcher.

"And now I'm ready to shoot them," said Grewal.

The man Grewal was ready to shoot was Sarangapani, his daughter's boyfriend and a Marine reservist.

Earlier that night, the two were out drinking to celebrate Sarangapani's birthday. But at the time, Grewal told investigators he had no idea who was outside his home screaming insults and that he feared for his life.

Before the irate visitor showed up outside, Grewal said he received several threatening phone calls.

"Is he breaking the window or anything?" asked the dispatcher.

"Well, I don't know," answered Grewal. "He's just shooting at the door."

"He's shooting at your door?" asked the dispatcher.

"No, he's just yelling at it," said Grewal.

"Oh, ok," said the dispatcher. "Well, then...Why are you...Don't shoot him yet."

Just minutes later, the 41-year-old did shoot Sarangapani. Grewal's lawyer says he's not guilty of murder.

"Mr. Grewal had no choice," said defense attorney Nicole Deborde. "And this is just a matter of self defense that ended in a terrible tragedy."

The victim's mother and relatives looked on as pictures from the autopsy were shown in court. Grewal wept at the defense table as a doctor who performed the autopsy told jurors how the single round tore through the victim's chest, lungs and back.

"The magnitude of the tragedy, there is nothing worse," said Deborde. "He recognizes that. If there could be a way that anyone could go back in time and take this entire day back, I think that everybody involved would be very glad to do that."

A Harris County crime scene investigator testified about evidence he collected at the scene. A cell phone found near the victim's body and the gun used in the shooting were among the items. The deputy says he collected two live rounds of ammunition from the balcony from Grewal's home, but no shell casings.

A lead investigator in the case said that before going outside and shooting Sarangapani, Grewal fired warning shots from the balcony. But his lawyer says that's not true.

The jury could get this case as early as Thursday.

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