The execution date of Indian American Raghunandan Yandamuri has been fixed for February 23 for killing a 61-year-old woman and her 10-month-old granddaughter.
Yandamuri, who was arrested in 2012, is the first Indian American to face a death penalty. But, he is likely to get a reprieve due to a moratorium on the death penalty in 2015 by the governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf.
Here’s a timeline of the investigation:
October 22, 2012:
The body of 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna was found in their Upper Merion apartment at King of Prussia area just outside Philadelphia and 10-month old Saanvi, the daughter of Latha and Venkata Venna Konda, was found missing.
October 25, 2012:
The Montgomery County coroner concluded that Satyavathi Venna died of cuts to the neck and chest, officially ruling the death a homicide.
October 25, 2012:
The body of Saanvi was found hidden in a gym at the family’s Marquis Apartment complex in King Of Prussia.
Yandamuri, 29, an information technology worker, was arrested in connection with the murder of the girl. The police said that the suspect, who is known to the family and lives in the same apartment complex, went to the family’s apartment with the intention of kidnapping Saanvi for a $50,000 ransom. He fatally stabbed 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna to death when she confronted him.
October 26, 2012:
Montgomery County Detective Paul Bradbury, the lead investigator in the case, said that after several hours of interrogation that began around 3:30 p.m. on October 25, 2012, Yandamuri confessed to the killings and the kidnapping on video at 7:11 a.m. on Friday, October 26, 2012.
In the video released in November, Yandamuri, 28, says he did not intend to kill the grandmother, but when he had Saanvi Venna in his arms, Satyavathi Venna lunged at him and he fell backward, cutting her throat with his knife. In the video, Yandamuri said he planned on taking good care of the baby, but also on holding her until her parents paid him.
January 15, 2013:
Montgomery County prosecutors filed a notice of intent to seek capital punishment if jurors convict Yandamuri of first-degree murder in the deaths.
October 6, 2014:
Yandamuri said during the trial that he was coerced into confessing, and the crimes were committed by men named “Matt” and “Josh” who forced him at gunpoint to help.
Yandamuri said he confessed earlier because police threatened to arrest his wife for making a false statement.
October 8, 2014:
Yandamuri was found guilty of the murder of 10-month-old Saanvi Venna and her grandmother Satyavathi. He was given a guilty verdict of two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of the Vennas by the Montgomery County jury.
October 13, 2014:
Yandamuri told Common Pleas Court, Judge Steven T. O’Neill, he wanted the death penalty. But, after speaking with his lawyer, Yandamuri agreed to abide by the decision of the jury.
October 14, 2014:
He was sentenced to death by the jury and became the first Indian American on death row in the United States.
The jury in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, deliberated for about four hours before deciding unanimously that Yandamuri should be executed for the deaths of Saanvi Venna and her grandmother Satyavathi Venna, 61.
January 5, 2016:
Yandamuri sought a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, judge’s permission to file criminal charges against the lead detective who investigated the crime in an attempt to escape a death sentence.
Yandamuri argued that he should be able to file a private criminal complaint against county Detective Paul Bradbury. Yandamuri alleged Bradbury, the lead detective during the investigation, committed perjury when he testified at various court proceedings against Yandamuri.
January 8, 2016:
Judge Gary S. Silow handed down a one-line court order throwing out Yandamuri’s request to order the district attorney’s office to file criminal charges against Detective Paul Bradbury, alleging perjury.
April 28, 2017:
The convict lost an appeal April 26 to have his two death sentences overturned. Pennsylvania’s high court affirmed the death sentence.
January 11, 2018:
The execution date of Yandamuri was fixed for February 23.