SACRAMENTO, California (KGPE) – A Mexican national pleaded guilty to killing a Newman police officer during an emotional hearing Thursday.
Paulo Virgen Mendoza admitted to fatally shooting Cpl. Ronil Singh of the Newman Police Department during a traffic stop early Dec. 26, 2018. The guilty plea was as part of a deal with prosecutors.
“He pulled the trigger on my son and changed our life forever,” said Singh’s mother Rohini Lata Singh.
“What do I say about a person who had decided to murder a 33-year-old police officer, made his 31-year-old wife a widow, and a 5-month-old child a son without a father?” said Singh’s widow Amanika Chand-Singh.
Mendoza told officers he shot Cpl. Singh because he was afraid he’d be arrested for driving under the influence.
Some of Singh’s friends and family shared their pain during the hearing in Stanislaus County Court.
“We were happy, we were healthy, and a close-knit family. Nothing is there no more. All I have left is my Ron’s pictures and memories,” said Singh’s mother Rohini Lata Singh.
“Witnessing the emotions of Ronil’s family was something that made many of us reconsider the job we had chosen in order to protect our families from ever having to experience the nightmare the Singh family is living and has been living for the past two years,” said Cpl. Edgar Lopez, president of the Newman Police Officers Association.
Mendoza pleaded guilty to murder and admitted to multiple special circumstances and the use of a gun under a deal with Stanislaus County prosecutors that will spare him the death penalty. The district attorney’s office had said in May it would seek his execution if he was convicted.
Mendoza was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“Every morning when you wake up, I want you to think about all this and your actions, what you did… I want you to think and remember my brother’s name,” said Singh’s brother Reggie.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.