The two Turlock men standing accused of gunning down a 21-year-old in downtown have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
Pardeep Singh, 21, and Kultar Singh Dhatt entered their pleas during a brief arraignment hearing Thursday morning in Stanislaus County Superior Court.
Singh and Dhatt were arrested Nov. 6 for the death of Amritpal Sandhu of Modesto. Sandhu was found dead in his car near Minaret Avenue and Main Street around 1:30 a.m. Nov. 6. Mere minutes before he had placed a 911 call stating he was being shot at while driving southbound on Highway 99, near the Taylor Road exit.
The two men are charged with murder and shooting at an occupied vehicle. Singh is also charged with assault with a firearm and making criminal threats.
The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office contends that because the men were firing from one vehicle into another with an intent to kill, their charges against them include special circumstances, which makes them eligible for the death penalty. The district attorney’s office has not made a determination on whether or not to seek the death penalty.
Late last week investigators received a tip that evidence related to the homicide had been thrown into the lake at Donnelly Park. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Dive Team assisted investigators with a search of the lake bottom and parts of a gun were recovered, said Turlock Police spokesperson Officer Mayra Lewis.
A pretrial hearing for the two men has been scheduled for Jan. 10, 2014.