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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Man gets 40 years in prison for killing Spokane cab driver in North Idaho

Jacob Coleman, 21, was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison Thursday, Jan. 2, 2019 for the 2017 murder of 22-year-old Gagandeep Singh, a Spokane cab driver. (Adam Mayer / KHQ)

Shortly before Jacob Coleman was sentenced to 40 years to life for the murder of a Spokane cab driver, he tried to run out of a courtroom after shouting, “40 years, let’s do this.”

Coleman, 21, of Puyallup, Washington, pleaded guilty in November to stabbing and killing 22-year-old Gagandeep Singh as the two sat in Singh’s cab in Kootenai, Idaho.

On Thursday, Bonner County District Court Judge Barbara Buchanan sentenced him to 40 years minimum in prison, with a maximum of a life sentence, according to KHQ, which also reported Coleman’s outburst. Because Coleman pleaded guilty, prosecutors took the death penalty off the table.

Several members of Singh’s family testified during the hourslong hearing, including his mother and brother, Baljit Singh, before Coleman stood and addressed the court, KHQ reported. The defendant apologized to the family, before asking “what do you guys want from me?” to which the family said life in prison.

In response, he shouted for the judge to give him 40 years as he slammed the microphone down and moved toward the door, according to KHQ. A bailiff stopped him before he could leave and put him into handcuffs.

Coleman, who was 19 at the time, flew from Seattle to Spokane in August 2017, apparently to start a new semester at Gonzaga University. However, upon visiting the school where he was not enrolled as a student nor assigned campus housing, he told law enforcement he became homicidal.

He then hailed a cab at the Spokane International Airport, and told Singh to drive him to a fictitious friend’s house in eastern Bonner County. When it became clear Coleman didn’t have a destination, Bonner County Sheriff’s deputies said Coleman stabbed Singh as they sat parked at Spokane Street and East Railroad Avenue in Kootenai.

When deputies arrived to find Singh, who was pronounced dead at the scene, Coleman was sitting in the cab. He was arrested without incident.