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November 21, 2013

Defendants in fatal Turlock shooting plead not guilty

Two defendants on Thursday pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the shooting of a 21-year-old man in Turlock earlier this month.

Two defendants Thursday pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the shooting of a 21-year-old man in Turlock earlier this month.

The charges against Pardeep Singh, 21, and Kultar Singh Dhatt, 22, are related to the Nov. 6 shooting death of Amritpal Sandhu.

The defendants also have been charged with shooting at an occupied vehicle. Singh faces additional charges of assault with a firearm and making criminal threats.

Singh and Dhatt denied enhancements added to the charges at a brief arraignment hearing Thursday. This was their second court appearance since their arrest.

The charges against both defendants include special circumstances alleging that shots were fired from one vehicle to another with the intent to kill. The allegation elevates the severity of the murder charge into a capital case.

The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office has not decided whether to seek the death penalty against Singh and Dhatt.

Superior Court Judge Dawna Reeves scheduled the defendants to return to court Jan. 10 for a pretrial hearing. The defendants were being held without bail.

About 1:30 a.m., officers found Sandhu shot to death inside a white Infiniti sedan that had struck a curb near North Minaret Avenue and East Main Street in Turlock.

Authorities have said Sandhu called for help, telling a dispatcher that someone was shooting at him along Highway 99 near Turlock. About five minutes later, residents near Pioneer Avenue and East Main Street heard gunshots. Turlock police then responded and found Sandhu in the car.

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