NEW YORK: A 37-year-old Indian-origin man, who was once one of “America’s Most Wanted” for a 1999 murder of a man, has pleaded not guilty to the crime.
Balkumar Singh was arrested in Trinidad in March after 16 years on the run in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Abzal Khan outside a suburban New York wedding.
He pleaded not guilty to murder, assault, weapons and other charges and was ordered held without bail during his court appearance here earlier this month.
He was not represented by an attorney; a judge said a court-appointed attorney would represent him at his next court appearance, a report in CBS News said.
Singh, however, apologised during his arraignment on August 17 in a Long Island courthouse.
“I’m sorry for the pain I caused the family,” Singh said before his arraignment in Nassau county court.
Singh was featured on “America’s Most Wanted” in 2009.
The report said Singh got into an argument while attending a June 1999 wedding in Hicksville.
They say Singh fired numerous times outside the wedding hall, killing Khan and injuring another man.
Court documents indicate the assault charges involve the wounding of a second man.
A New York Times article at the time of the shooting said police believed the gunman had asked a girl to dance and argued with her date.
Later, the gunman was waiting outside, and as the wedding guests left the party, he opened fire.
Khan, of Queens, died of chest wounds while the second man was shot in the leg.
Acting district attorney Madeline Singas said Singh used numerous aliases while on the run and might have spent time in Canada and Guyana.
She said he was arrested in Trinidad in March after authorities were tipped off to his whereabouts; he apparently was homeless and living on the streets.
Khan’s parents and a brother attended the brief court proceeding.
“I’m very sad,” said Khan’s mother, Sharifan Khan.