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Man charged with killing family, confessing in Mount Shasta, faces upcoming court date

Mike Chapman
Shankar Hangud, wearing a personal safety vest, appears in the Placer County Superior Court on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in Roseville. Prosecutors say Hangud faces murder charges for allegedly killing four members of his family in Northern California.

A Northern California man who confessed to killing his wife and three children – and bringing one of the bodies to Mount Shasta police in October – has a court date Friday in Placer County.

Nagaappa (Shankgar) Hangud, 53, of Roseville is scheduled for a status conference in Placer County Superior Court that might lead to the setting of a preliminary hearing, although that's up in the air considering the case has been continued in court nearly every month since November.

"A case of this magnitude takes time to go through the physical evidence and reports and give the defense time to do the same," said Dave Tellman, Placer County's chief assistant district attorney.

"The next legal step would be the setting of a preliminary hearing," Tellman said Monday.

He said it's more likely the case will be put over another six weeks.

"These cases tend to take longer than your average felony case," he said.

Hangud's public defender, Martin Jones, said the number of victims, the possibility of prosecutors seeking the death penalty, examination of medical records, the involvement of two counties and the coronavirus have caused delays.

"Because of Covid, everything is slowed down," Jones said.

Roseville police have said Hangud admitted to killing his 46-year-old wife, Jyothi Shankar, and children Gauri Hangud, 16, and Nischal Hangud, 13, at their apartment over two days in October, according to The Associated Press.

Authorities say he killed his 20-year-old son, Varum Shankar, five days later near the Oregon border. Mount Shasta police said the man walked into their lobby on Oct. 14, 2019, and turned himself in.

Officers found the body of Hangud's son in the passenger se of the man's red Mazda. Investigators think Hangud went to several places in Northern California before going to Mount Shasta.

Authorities haven't said how the four family members died although police said firearms were not found at any of the crime scenes.

"There's a lot of stones that have been unturned that detectives still need to look into before making a real determination about what the motivation was and what led the suspect to do the things that he did," Roseville police Capt. Josh Simon said in October.

"Nothing comes to my mind that I can think back and remember anything of this magnitude happening in the city of Roseville," Simon said at the time.

The Associated Press previously reported Hangud was an unemployed data specialist and his LinkedIn profile listed him as previously working for several companies in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Mike Chapman is a reporter and photographer for the Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif. His newspaper career spans Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Wash.