Kingsburg Shell shooter admits it, tells new story

FRESNO, Calif.

The accused murderer now says he did it out of fear. But Maninder "Manny" Kaila initially told investigators he wasn't even at the scene of the crime.

First, he wasn't there. Now, he was there and he killed his boss, but only to protect himself. The story Kaila told on the witness stand came as a surprise to nearly everyone involved with the case.

At the scene of the crime, Manny Kaila told investigators, and Action News, he had no idea what happened to his boss, Parmajit "Paul" Singh.

"Why are you being arrested?" Action News asked Kaila.

"I don't know," Kaila told us.

"Where were you this morning?" we asked.

"At home," he said.

But on the witness stand two and a half years later, Kaila admitted shooting and killing the man who was also his cousin. Kaila said he drove from his house in Fowler, all the way to Kingsburg, with a shotgun under his driver's seat.

"And you had it because you were going to kill Paul, right?" asked prosecutor Lynmarc Jenkins.

"I was angry," Kaila said through a Punjabi interpreter.

But Kaila also added a new twist to his story Friday. For the first time, he claimed the shooting stemmed from another confrontation the night before when Singh threatened to kill him.

"He came to the store that evening and got into an argument with me," Kaila said through the interpreter. "He put a revolver on my head and told me that, 'I'm going to pull the trigger.'"

Jenkins got Kaila to lay out a timeline of events that could prove premeditation and deliberation -- two key elements of first degree murder. But he also questioned whether Kaila was telling the truth on the stand, based on the defendant's newest version of events.

"You never once told the detective that Paul put a gun to your head," Jenkins said.

"I was confused at the time," Kaila said through the interpreter. "I was afraid."

Both sides rested their cases Friday, with closing arguments scheduled for Monday.

Kaila faces life in prison if he's convicted.

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