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Farmersville Gas Station Operator Gets Life Sentence for Violent Killing

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A Tulare County jury found Harbhajan Mundi guilty of first-degree murder and that he was sane during the shooting and beating homicide. (Shutterstock)
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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 booking photo

Harbhajan Mundi was sentenced to 77 years to life in prison on Aug. 5, 2022. (Tulare County DA’s Office)

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.

 

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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