PENNSYLVAIA: A man from India who said he’d rather accept the death penalty than sit through arguments over his fate after being convicted of killing a baby and her grandmother, who were also from India, was sentenced to die on Tuesday.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that jurors agreed on the death penalty for Raghunandan Yandamuri in the sentencing phase of his trial after he was convicted in the 2012 slayings of 10-month-old Saanvi Venna and 61-year-old Satayrathi Venna in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.He was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder.
Prosecutors said the 27-year-old Yandamuri had planned to kidnap the two but botched it. They said he wanted money to pay for gambling debts.At a hearing Friday, Yandamuri told a judge he’d rather be executed than listen to others debate his fate. After consulting with his court-appointed attorney at the judge’s urging, he agreed to remain at the hearing.
The slain infant’s father, Venkata Konda Siva Venna, and mother, Chenchu Latha Punuru, moved to the United States from India in February 2007. Satyavathi Venna was visiting from India to help take care of the baby.
Authorities said Yandamuri, a family friend, hoped to hold the baby girl hostage to get $50,000 from her software-engineer parents but instead killed her and her grandmother in a botched kidnapping.The plot unraveled when he dropped the baby as he juggled her and a kitchen knife and struggled with her paternal grandmother, authorities said.
The grandmother was fatally stabbed and suffered defensive wounds. The suspect told police he put a handkerchief in the baby’s mouth to quiet her, then wrapped a towel around her head and put her in a suitcase when he left the sixth-floor apartment, according to an affidavit filed by police.