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|March 7, 2000|
Mother pleads not guilty in drowning case
Narinder Virk, charged with the attempted murder of her two children, pleaded not guilty in a court on Monday. She remains in jail under a suicide watch as her well-wishers seek to raise the $ 500,000 bail set by Judge William Brodie.
According to the prosecution, she sought to drown her two children when she heard that her husband, who had gone back to India, had decided to divorce her.
Her defense has presented a case of long abuse by her husband, who has since returned from India and is living with the two children.
The trial will start in June last week, the judge said.
Virk, who has very little education, faces two counts of attempted murder for allegedly holding the children, ages 6 and 9, under water on January 12.
Officials believe she was trying to kill her children, then planned to kill herself. The children appeared in the court a few days ago and described the drowning drama. Though they said their mother held them under water, they were reluctant to blame her.
Earlier, a Superior Court Judge Art Gutierrez had ruled that the charges pending against Narinder Virk are too serious for her $ 500,000 bail to be reduced.
Her attorney had argued in vain that Virk, who hardly has any friends in Los Angeles or other American city, is not a flight-risk. Public defender Christina Briles had also referred to the large crowd seated in the courtroom and said her client would be taken into an appropriate home if released on bail.
"This woman is not a murderer," said Dr Amarjit S Marwah, a dentist and community leader in Los Angeles. "She is a victim of circumstances."
Marwah and other supporters of Virk did not know her till her arrest. They have reportedly raised about $ 75,000 towards the bail.
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