Bayapa Lingala, 77, stabbed Sujay Nooka, 46, in the chest.
By The American Bazaar Staff
WASHINGTON, DC: In a shocking murder case that is still being investigated and the motives remain murky, a 77-year-old man from India, Bayapa Lingala, stabbed his son-in-law Suja Nooka, 46, in the chest on the night of a birthday party for his 12-year-old granddaughter, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nooka died from the fatal wound in hospital a few hours later.
The deceasedâ€™s wife Uma Nooka, a physician, told police she thought her father, Lingala, suffered from bipolar disorder and said he had been prescribed medication to treat paranoia, Lincoln Police Sgt. John Donahue said in an affidavit, reported the Lincoln Journal-Star.
Uma Nooka, 44, told police her father wanted to go home to India after living with her and her husband for at least nine years, Donahue said. She said she opposed his return because he couldnâ€™t take care of himself anymore.
Police say Lingala stabbed Sujay Nooka, 46, at the end of a birthday party for the Nookas’ 12-year-old daughter on August. 5. He died about four and a half hours later at the hospital.
Sujay Nooka was a supply chain manager for Lincoln Industries and earned his master’s degree in engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
When police got to the house Tuesday night, they found Uma Nooka on the front steps with her husband, who was covered in blood, had trouble breathing and could not speak, said the Journal-Star report.
Police say she told officers her father stabbed her husband and was in his basement bedroom, Officer Russell Schoenbeck said in an affidavit. The officers found Lingala writing a note in the basement, Donahue said in his affidavit. He did not obey officers when they told him to put his hands up. After they handcuffed Lingala, the officers found a meat cleaver and a knife with a bloody 8-inch blade, Donahue said.
Sujay Nookaâ€™s father, 76-year-old Laksami Nooka, told police he was walking toward Lingalaâ€™s bedroom in the basement and saw him stab Sujay once in the upper left chest, the sergeant said. He pushed Lingala away from Sujay and helped his son out of the room and upstairs.
Prosecutors charged Lingala Friday with second-degree murder and using a knife to do so. Lancaster County Court Judge Timothy Phillips set bond at 10 percent of $1 million, so Lingala would have to post $100,000 to be released. His passport was confiscated.
When he was brought to court, Lingala looked as though he didnâ€™t know what was going on in the courtroom. He was told he was charged with two felonies, and that he faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted of murder and one to 50 years on the weapons charge.
Lingala neither reacted nor responded despite being told that several times, and asked if he understood.
Towards the end, Lingala said â€œThank you,â€ to the judge, then he put his hands together and bowed toward the judge before shuffling back out.
Reports says the deceased was well-liked at the workplace, with a lot of colleagues saying he would be missed.
Srini Kadubandi, 48, said he met Lingala some nine years ago at the same time as the rest of the Nooka family. The two families met because Kadubandiâ€™s wife, like Sujay Nookaâ€™s wife, Uma, is a doctor, said the Journal-Star.
Lingala, who was an elementary school teacher back in India, was like a lot of Indian parents who move to the U.S. to live with their kids, Kadubandi said — he was nice, quiet and stayed at home a lot because he didnâ€™t know anyone, didnâ€™t have a car and couldnâ€™t speak English.
â€œHe always used to say this was like a house arrest because he canâ€™t go out on his own,â€ Kadubandi said, adding that Lingala talked about moving back to India where there was more intimacy between people, more of a hustle and bustle.
â€œIn India, itâ€™s not as private as the U.S.,” Kadubandi said. “Just about everybody knows everybody else. They would know their neighbors very thoroughly.â€
Kadubandi said he was shocked when he heard about Nookaâ€™s death, and that police think Lingala stabbed him.