A business meeting that turned deadly is sending a 65-year-old Tulare County man to prison for the rest of his life.
Harbhajan Mundi received a sentence of 77 years to life on Thursday, Aug. 5, in the 2018 shooting and beating death of the owner of the Aztecs Gas Station & Liquor Store in Farmersville.
Mundi, who had leased the store from Nizam Rajabali since 2003, met with the owner on July 24, 2018, to express his unhappiness with the lease terms.
Victim Shot, Hit in Head With Hammer
According to prosecutors, after requesting to speak privately in the store, Mundi pulled a gun from his pocket and aimed it at Rajabali. The owner’s son, Jahan Rajabali, saw the gun and tried to intervene, but Mundi began shooting.
The elder Rajabali was hit in the stomach, while his son was struck in the neck and foot.
As police officers arrived at the chaotic bloody scene, Mundi grabbed a hammer and struck Nizam Rajabali on the head three times, investigators said. Five days later, Rajabali died in a hospital.
Mundi’s Mental State
During the trial, Mundi’s mental state during his attack on the Rajabalis became a central question. However, after a jury found the accused guilty of first-degree murder on Dec. 16, 2021, the jury also found six days later that he was sane while committing the homicide.
Fresno attorney Tony Capozzi represented Mundi.
“We asked the court to look at the evidence separate from the jury,” Capozzi told ABC30 in June. “Unfortunately, the court saw it differently and upheld the jury verdict. Our position now is the court of appeal needs to look at this to see if the evidence really is sufficient for first-degree murder.”
Tulare County senior deputy district attorney Adam Clare prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Farmersville Police Department.