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Jitesh Bhogal, who claimed not to remember details of her actions in the early hours of the morning of June 10, 2018, confessed to a murder trial jury Thursday that she killed Autumn Taggart at her home.

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On the witness stand and responding to defense attorney Peter Thorning’s questions, the General Motors design group engineer testified that he did not recall how he entered Taggart’s room or exited the upstairs apartment of a woman who was a complete stranger. to the.

He said he realized that the 31-year-old mother, whose young son testified before hearing screams in the next room, was dead.

Under further questions, Bhogal said that “it looks like I got on the balcony” to access the apartment. He remembered “being inside somewhere” and crouched over a woman who stared back at him. “I have never seen someone look at me with such horror, with such fear.”

He testified that the woman was screaming, there was a fight, and that he panicked.

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“After the screaming stopped, I instantly came to the conclusion that I had accidentally killed her.” Explaining, he added: “I just wanted her to shut up so I could leave.

And then the screaming stops. I didn’t know why until I saw the injuries it had caused. “

The next thing Bhogal, who was 27 at the time, remembers was standing in the basement of his uncle’s house in South Windsor with feelings of “overwhelming fear and overwhelming pain and horror.”

That same day, he said, he returned to his Michigan apartment and called his parents in Seattle, Washington, “telling them part of what he feared might have happened.” After completing her MBA studies at the University of Michigan, Bhogal said she had already been packing for her own previously planned move to Seattle and hit the highway that night.

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The results of the forensic analysis of Taggart’s body presented earlier in the trial revealed Bhogal’s DNA in the victim’s mouth, on his chest and fingernails, and on his genitalia. In response to questioning by his attorney, Bhogal said he only remembered touching Taggart’s face and chest.

“Does any other part of your body touch hers?” Thorning asked. “No,” replied his client.

He recalled trying CPR on the floor and then moving Taggart back to the bed where his body was later discovered. He stated that it would not have been “decent” for the deceased to be discovered on the floor of her bedroom.

Bhogal explained that it was “a sense of self-preservation” and “fear of going to jail” that prevented him from coming forward. The Windsor Police Service’s detective work, in particular tracking down two locals who helped him buy cocaine that night, eventually led to his arrest and charges of sexual assault and murder in the first degree.

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“I didn’t have the courage to step forward, so I waited for it to come to me,” he said.

Bhogal couldn’t remember much of what happened in the apartment, but under questioning by Assistant Crown Prosecutor Ilana Mizel, she repeatedly denied sexually assaulting Taggart.

“I’ve had time to think about what I remember and what I don’t remember,” he said, adding, “It doesn’t make sense that (I) ever got involved in what you’re suggesting.”

Bhogal said he had drinks with friends in Detroit that same night. During questioning, he insisted that he was “safe” behind the wheel of the 2018 Honda Pilot he had recently purchased for his parents while driving to Windsor through the tunnel after 2am on June 10.

With his own apartment almost full, he planned to spend the night at his uncle’s house in Windsor. Despite having a “slight dislike of strip clubs,” he was first heading to Cheetah’s and was idle in a nearby alley when a beggar looking for a change asked, “Can I get you something?”

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Bhogal asked for cocaine. He said he had never tried the drug before, but saw it used in movies and had friends who used it recreationally. He told Mizel that he wanted to try cocaine because he was curious, as well as “for experimental reasons.” He stated that “I had no expectation of how it would make me feel” and could not describe any sensation beyond a burning nose.

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He agreed that inviting the beggar, a stranger, into their vehicle to go to an address for an initial cocaine purchase, and then having the beggar’s girlfriend join them for a later date with their drug dealer, was “impulsive, risky, stupid.”

When asked how he knew how to order an 8 ball of cocaine, he knew how to ask for an initial sample to “test the quality” and then how to consume it by laying lines and rolling a coin bill to snort it, Bhogal replied he had “seen it in the movies “.

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The beggar, Jake Thompson, testified earlier at trial that the initial substance he had sold to Bhogal was actually baking flour.

“You’re lying to the jury, sir, about your familiarity with cocaine,” Mizel said. She suggested that Bhogal, who snorted the first “light, white, powdery” substance, pursued the second purchase because he knew what had been initially sold to him.

“As soon as he inhaled that flour, he knew Mr. Thompson had tricked him,” Mizel said.

“I don’t think I believed that I was misled,” Bhogal said during questioning by the prosecution.

The Crown continues its cross-examination of the defendants on Friday before Superior Court Judge Renee Pomerance and all 14 jurors.

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Reference-windsorstar.com

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