Shankar Nagappa Hangud entered guilty pleas to three counts of first-degree murder for his three children and one count of deliberately aiding his wife’s suicide in 2019.

Shankar Nagappa HangudFile Photo
news Crime Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 14:36

Shankar Nagappa Hangud, an Indian-origin IT professional in the US who dramatically surrendered to the police in California with his son’s dead body in his car in 2019, and has since confessed to killing his wife and three children, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. Investigators said Shankar, who is now 55, confessed to killing his wife and children over several days at his apartment in California, saying he could not provide for them financially, KCRA-TV reported on Wednesday, November 11. Shankar declined to comment during the sentencing in Placer County, the report said.

Shankar was in the news after walking into the Mount Shasta Police Department, 320 kilometres north of his apartment in Roseville, Placer County, telling officers he had killed four people. Roseville Police later found the bodies of his wife, daughter and younger son 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. The victims were identified as Jyothi Shankar, 46; Varun Shankar, 20; Gauri Hangud, 16; and Nischal Hangud, 13.

Police said at the time they believed Shankar killed his family during a week-long crime spree, murdering his wife and children over the course of three days. Shankar allegedly murdered his wife, his daughter and his youngest son on October 7, 2019 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, 2019 with his son's body. 

Shankar 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 dying by suicide, The Sacramento Bee newspaper reported. Prosecutors said Shankar claimed to be in despair after losing his IT job and dealing with a marriage that was falling apart.

“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.

“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, Shankar would get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Read: Indian-origin techie, who allegedly killed 4, was ‘emotionally distraught’: US official

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