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Auburn man gets 20 years for killing his wife

An Auburn man learned Friday morning that he will spend 20 years in prison for killing his wife.

Superior Court Judge Brian Gain sentenced Paramjit Basra, 54, for strangling 39-year-old Harjinder Basra at their home.

In February, a jury found Basra guilty of first degree murder.

Auburn police arrested Basra on July 27, 2009, after his hysterical daughter called 911 to report that her father had attacked her mother and was trying to kill her.

According to charging papers, the girl called 911 again and told the operator that her father, a truck driver, had just returned to the family home in the 29500 block of 125th Avenue Southeast, pushed his hands up against his wife's throat and killed her. The girl said that one point her father had tried to kill her, too, but that she had locked herself in the master bathroom only a few feet away from where her mother was lying.

When officers arrived at the home they found the front door slightly ajar and Basra looking out at them. He closed and locked the door. An officer knocked, told him to come out, and he finally did.

As the officer placed handcuffs on Basra, he said in broken English, "Ahh ... ahh ... the problem is, I killed my wife. She's in the room to the right." According to the report, Basra appeared "very calm" as he made this admission.

Police found Harjinder Basra lying on the floor by the foot of the bed in the upstairs master bedroom, warm, but unconscious. She had no pulse. Medics restored a pulse and then rushed her to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

When police tried to question Mr. Basra, he asked for an attorney and the interrogation stopped. On the way to the patrol car, court papers say, he said that he had "family problems," "I killed my wife," and "she has problems with men, so I killed her."

Police later searched the Basra home and found no signs of a struggle, although they did see a car charger cord for a cell phone lying on the bed.

Harjinder Basra was declared brain dead on July 30, 2009. The King County Medical Examiner's Office determined her death was "homicide due to asphyxiation caused by ligature strangulation."

Basra had originally been set to stand trial for the second-degree murder of his wife, but prosecutors reserved the alternative of charging him with premeditated first-degree murder if they could show intent at trial.

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