Penalty Phase Begins for Clerk’s Killer

Relatives of Nirmal Singh, a La Habra 7-Eleven clerk who was gunned down on his 44th birthday, testified in Orange County Superior Court Monday that the family has never recovered from his death in August 1995.

It has been the hardest on Singh’s widow, Baljit Kaur, who is now a single mother of the couple’s three boys and can no longer rely on her husband for help assimilating, according to testimony. The family moved to Fullerton from India three years ago.

“Her personality changed a lot from a loving, caring, friendly mom and sister,” her brother, Kuldip Singh, said. ‘She became more paranoid, angry, frustrated.”

His testimony came in the first day of the penalty phase of the trial of Noel Uriel Vargas Jr., a Norwalk man who was convicted last week of first-degree murder and second-degree robbery in connection to Singh’s death. A jury of seven women and five men will decide whether Vargas, 21, will spend the rest of his life in prison or be executed.


The trial is expected to last several days.