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New York Stepmother Convicted 3 Years After Murdering Stepdaughter

By Alan Cheung

A New York stepmother was convicted of murdering her 9-year-old stepdaughter in 2016, PIX 11 reported.

The jury found Shamdai Arjun, 55, from Queens guilty on May 10, and she now faces up to life in prison.

“This is a horrifying case of a defenseless 9-year-old child, who was to be cared for by her stepmother but was instead strangled to death by her,” said District Attorney John Ryan, according to Pix 11.

“Her actions are truly incomprehensible and deserve the maximum punishment allowed under the law.”

A neighbor spotted Arjun leaving her home alongside her ex-husband and two grandchildren at around 5.30 p.m. on Aug. 19, 2016, which was around the time Ashdeep Kaur was murdered, NBC New York reported.

When the neighbor asked Arjun where her stepdaughter was, Arjun replied by saying that Kaur was in the bathroom waiting for her father to come get her.

The neighbor testified in court that the bathroom light had been on for more than two hours before the conversation with Arjun, NBC New York reported.

She then called Kaur’s father who proceeded to tell the neighbor to break down the bathroom door. That’s when the neighbor found the 9-year-old’s lifeless body in the bathtub.

The coroner declared that the young victim had died from manual strangulation.

Arjun will be sentenced next month. Arjun’s ex-husband was also charged with obstructing police when Arjun was arrested.

Stepmother Allegedly Murdered by Stepdaughter and Friend

Pennsylvania State Police are treating a death in Greene Township, near Chambersburg, as a potential murder for hire.

One of the two prime suspects is the victim’s stepdaughter.

Tosha Mae Daley (L) and Nicholas Vonallen Shinn have been charged with murdering Daley’s step-mother, Jamie-Ruth Daley. (Franklin County Jail)
Tosha Mae Daley (L) and Nicholas Vonallen Shinn have been charged with murdering Daley’s step-mother, Jamie-Ruth Daley. (Franklin County Jail)

Witnesses in the area of the victim’s home on the 3700 block of Mountain Shadow Circle on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 saw Shinn acting strangely, heard sounds of a struggle, and called the police, according to Public Opinion. The police arrived at 11:29 a.m. to find the body of 46-year-old Jamie Ruth Daley outside.

Daley had been stabbed several times and apparently beaten with a blunt object.

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Brent Miller spoke at a press conference after the incident.

“It’s gruesome because it was a stabbing. You don’t hear stabbings really frequently,” said Miller. “At this time it’s mostly gunshots, or guns involved, but this one was strictly a knife and other objects.

“That made the scene very gruesome, very bloody,” he added.

The Major Case Unit, the Franklin County Coroner’s Office, and District Attorney’s Office investigated the case and on Dec. 8, charged two people with the crime.

Tosha Mae Daley, 26, and Nicholas Vonallen Shinn, 21, were each charged with murder in the first degree, conspiracy to commit murder, burglary, robbery, theft, and conspiracy to commit burglary, robbery, and theft, reported Public Opinion.

Tosha Daley, Jamie Daley’s stepdaughter, was also charged with criminal solicitation of a murder and second-degree murder.

While it appeared the case was a murder-for-hire, each suspect told a different story of what had happened.

Miller explained at a press conference that as far as police can tell, Tosha Daley drove Shinn to the home and Shinn broke in and attacked Jamie Ruth Daley.

Daley is claiming it was a simple burglary gone awry; Shinn is accusing Daley of offering to pay him to kill her stepmother.

Both Daley and Shinn are being held in Franklin County Jail.

Diverging Explanations

Police say that Nicholas Shinn told a friend that he had attacked Jamie Daley, using a crowbar to “finish her off,” Public Opinion.com reported. That person’s tip to the police led to the arrests.

Shinn allegedly told police, “I was going to get paid to whack her stepmom,” and that Tosha Daley had offered him $30,000 to commit the crime several times during the prior two weeks.

The young man claimed Daley had been arguing with her stepmother over a Jeep SUV, which was about to be repossessed. Also, Daley apparently learned that her stepmother had a sizeable life insurance policy.

Shinn claimed Daley drove him to the home, handed him a knife, and left. He told police he entered, saw Jamie Daley on the phone, and went into some kind of rage, telling police he “saw red.”

Shinn admitted to stabbing Jamie Daley and beating her with a chair. He claimed that Daley picked him up after the murder, and the two drove to Greencastle where Shinn washed up and changed his clothes.

Tosha Daley told a radically different tale, according to Public Opinion.

According to Daley, she drove Shinn to the development where her stepmother lived, dropped him off, and drove away.

After leaving, she claimed she called her mother to warn her that Shinn might be coming to steal some money.

Daley then claimed that she drove back by the neighborhood, saw Shinn, and offered him a ride. When he got into the car, he told her that he had hurt Jamie Daley “really bad.”

Police, acting on information from witnesses, were able to identify the vehicle the couple used and tracked it to Greencastle. They recovered the bag full of bloody clothes and other evidence.

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Epoch Times reporter Chris Jasurek contributed to this article