12 years after woman's murder, her estranged husband is on trial for killing her

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- 12 years after an Ahwatukee woman was found dead inside her own home, her husband is on trial for killing her.

The suspect, 44-year-old Avtar Grewal, flew to India, where he is originally from, immediately after the murder in 2007. It took four years before he was extradited to the United States. On Monday, attorneys presented their opening statements.

The defense did not deny that Grewal took the life of his estranged wife, 30-year-old Navneet Kaur, but the defense claims he's not guilty of first-degree murder, as he never planned to kill her. The prosecution, meanwhile, claims Grewal had a motive. One day after his wife told him she wanted a divorce, prosecutors said Grewal flew from Canada to Phoenix to murder her, then tried to get away with it by leaving the country.

Grewal sat emotionless Monday, as the prosecutor told the jury about what happened inside his wife's home on March 30, 2007.

"He placed his hands on her," said prosecutor Juan Martinez. "Placed his hands, wrapped it around her throat, and began to choke her."

Martinez also read aloud a note left at the murder scene that was written by Grewal.

"I killed this selfish b**** who tortured me for two years," Martinez read. "And, according to him, she made my life hell."

Grewal lived and worked in Canada, while Kaur lived and worked in Phoenix. Their marriage was rocky. Kaur announced she wanted a divorce, and the prosecution said that was Grewal's motive.

"Avtar is responsible for her death," said defense attorney Jeffrey Kirchler. "Avtar is guilty of a homicide."

The defense told the jury Grewal wanted to talk to her in person, which was why he flew from Canada to Phoenix.

"He didn't plan this, didn't mean for this to happen, and it's a terrible, terrible tragedy," said Kirchler.

The talk became heated and physical. Grewal demanded his wife call his parents in India, to tell them about the divorce.

"Wants her to call, grabs her wrist, start slapping each other," said Kirchler. "They lose themselves in that moment. Next thing you know, Avtar gets kicked in the groin, then next thing he knows, she's falling to the ground, hitting her head on the table. She's dead."

The jury also heard from the victim's co-worker, who went to the home after she didn't show up for work. Police discovered Kaur's body in a bathtub, filled with water. She had been strangled. The defense said Grewal will testify during the trial, in his own defense.