Rama Gauravarapu was killed in her West Kelowna hotel room on July, 22, 2018. (Contributed)

Defence claims Surrey man was mentally unwell at time of West Kelowna murder

Tejwant Danjou’s jealousy ‘tormented him’, according to his defence lawyer

Scoffs of the late Rama Gauravarapu’s family filled the courtroom as Tejwant Danjou’s defence lawyers painted him as a man who was so in love that it “drove him crazy.”

As the Crown rested its case in Danjou’s second-degree murder trial on Tuesday, June 2, defence lawyer Donna Turko picked up hers, giving the court a different representation of the man who had been previously shown to the courts, through numerous witnesses, to be abusive, controlling and jealous.

In her brief opening statement, Turko submitted that Danjou, in addition to harbouring severe jealousy, was mentally unwell at the time he bludgeoned his common-law partner to death with a wine bottle in a West Kelowna hotel room on July 22, 2018.

“We’ve heard it from the victim herself,” Turko said. “Words to the effect of ‘you’re crazy’, ‘your head’s not working’.”

Turko said Danjou became delusional about Gauravarapu having relationships with other men.

“It tormented him,” she said. “At the time of the tragic death of Ms. Gauravarapu, Mr. Danjou did not have the requisite intent to commit the murder of the woman he loved so much.”

If the defence can prove that Danjou did not have intent to kill Gauravarapu, or couldn’t form it due to his mental state, he could end up being convicted of manslaughter rather than second-degree murder.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Todd Tomita, the defence’s first witness, provided some insight into Danjou’s delusion.

Through two interviews with Danjou, amounting to six hours total, Tomita diagnosed Danjou with delusional disorder-jealous type.

“A delusion is by definition, a false, fixed idea that’s held with subjective certainty,” Tomita testified. “If that idea is influencing someone’s interpretation of events, then it can affect their decision making in a way that they’re not making decisions on objective, consensual reality. They’re making it based on their delusional interpretation of what is occurring.”

Tomita drew several examples of Danjou’s pathological jealousy from the six hours they spent speaking at Okanagan Correctional Centre, one of which stemmed from a 2018 flight Danjou and Gauravarapu took to Las Vegas.

Danjou claimed to Tomita that Gauravarapu had “hiked up her dress” while on the plane, allowing the man in the seat next to her to “flirt and fondle her.”

“I took it as nothing, but he said a man sitting next to him fondled her leg,” Tomita said.

Even something as simple as “endearing eyes” from Gauravarapu to one of Danjou’s friends led to fights between the two, Tomita told the courts.

Danjou upheld this belief after Gauravarapu’s death, according to the testimony of one officer tasked with keeping custody of Danjou on the night of his arrest.

Const. Rick Goodwin testified Danjou wanted the RCMP to check a Ford F150 in Surrey that contained “crucial evidence” of Gauravarapu’s infidelity.

In March, the court heard RCMP discovered Danjou hiding in a dumpster shortly after Gauravarapu was found covered in blood, clinging to life in their nearby West Kelowna hotel room. She died a short time after RCMP’s arrival and Danjou was arrested.

Danjou — who entered a surprise guilty plea as the trial commenced on Feb. 25 before retracting it the next day — has admitted to causing Gauravarapu’s life-ending injuries but did not admit to having the intention to kill her, the latter being a key component of a second-degree murder conviction.

The trial resumed on Monday (June 1) after two and a half months of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two weeks have been set aside for the completion of Danjou’s judge-alone trial.

READ MORE: Surrey man accused of murdering his partner in West Kelowna back in court

READ MORE: Surrey couple had abusive relationship prior to woman’s West Kelowna murder

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC Supreme Courtmurder trial

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton photographer publishes book showcasing resilience of Okanagan people

Okanagan Strong showcases the bravery of many during crisis; from COVID-19, to floods, and fires

Summerland steam train to begin operations

Reduced schedule, physical distancing planned for Kettle Valley Steam Railway beginning July 18

Morning Start: Naps could save your life

Your morning start for Wednesday, July 9, 2020

After slow start, Summerland sees more tourism activity

Majority of visitors come from within British Columbia

EDITORIAL: Accommodating Okanagan fruit pickers

Campsite for agricultural workers to open in Summerland

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Kelowna taxpayers could pay $90K for losses caused by cancelled Memorial Cup

$135,000 would be put aside for a potential bid for a future opportunity to host the tournament

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Motorcycle rider seriously injured in collision with vehicle on Highway 97 west of Pritchard

Chase RCMP report that motorcycle was attempting to pass when crash occurred

Predator mutilated cats in Kelowna: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA confirmed a mutilated cat was killed by a predator

LETTER: Former Summerland mayors speak out on solar project

Five former Summerland mayors sign name to short letter

Emergency crews conduct CPR on unresponsive person in Okanagan Lake

West Kelowna emergency crews are on scene at the shores of Jubilee Mobile Home Park

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Most Read