A man suspected of killing his estranged wife in Ahwatukee Foothills in 2007 before fleeing to his home country of India has been returned to Arizona, police said Thursday.
Avtar Singh Grewal, 36, arrived in Phoenix on Sept. 14 and was booked into Maricopa County jail on charges of first-degree murder and burglary.
His attorney, Jeff Kirchler, said Thursday that Grewal pleaded not guilty at a court hearing Wednesday but declined to comment further.
Grewal has been behind bars in India since he fled Phoenix after his wife's killing in March 2007 and had been fighting his extradition back to Arizona.
Police found the body of 30-year-old Navneet Kaur in her Ahwatukee home on March 30, 2007, after co-workers reported being worried about her because she was seeking a divorce from Grewal. Kaur had been strangled, and Grewal left a note admitting to killing her, police said.
Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos declined to go into details about Kaur's killing, but said "the crime was particularly heinous."
"We certainly hate for the families of victims to go for any period of time without having those responsible" held accountable, Martos said. "So we are excited to have him back even though it's been four-and-a-half years."
Kaur's brother, Mandeep Singh, released a statement through Martos describing the fight for Grewal's extradition as long and painful.
"My family is very certain that justice will be done and a strong message will be sent by punishing him harshly," Singh said.
Martos said that Grewal and Kaur had been separated, and that Grewal was living in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada. Grewal wanted Kaur to move there with him but she refused and asked him for a divorce.
Police believe Kaur picked Grewal up from the Phoenix airport the night of her killing.
Martos said that Grewal was described as a controlling and jealous husband who called Kaur at work up to 30 times a day.