Adam W. Purinton admits that he murdered Kuchibhotla.
A year after Indian informational technology professional Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead by a white nationalist, in an apparent hate crime, at a bar in Olathe, Kansas, the accused, Adam W. Purinton, has accepted his guilt of “premeditated” assault on Kuchibhotla and his friend Alok Madasani, who was injured.
Purinton, a US Navy veteran, entered Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe, where the two Indian nationals were having an after-work break and yelled at them, “Get out of my country!” and fired.
According to the indictment report, Purinton committed the crime after substantial planning and premeditation and, in addition to shooting the two victims, he risked the lives of others present in the bar.
Besides Kuchibhotla and Madasani, a patron, Ian Grillot, also sustained bullet injury when he tried to protect the victims.
Both Kuchibhotla and Madasani came to the United States as students and worked as engineers at Garmin, a US firm company that specializes in GPS technology.
The sentencing will be on May 4. Purinton, who was found guilty of premeditated first-degree murder, could be slapped with a life in prison with no chance of parole for the next 50 years
“Today’s guilty verdict in the murder of my husband will not bring back my Srinu, but it will send a strong message that hate is not acceptable. We must understand and love each other,” wrote Sunayana Dumala, wife of Srinivas Kuchibhotla.
Dumala submitted a written statement as she could not be present during the court proceedings on Tuesday. “Please join me on -March 9, Srivnu’s birthday – to peacefully walk together in his memory,” she wrote. “Let us continue to work for peace, understanding and love the things Srinu stood for and will be his legacy.”
According to court documents, Purinton entered the bar on February 22, and made some derogatory comments on the two Indians who were having a leisurely drink. Purinton was removed from the scene but a few minutes later he came back to the bar with a firearm and fired at the two yelling “Get out of My Country!”
The killing of Kuchibhotla had sparked fear within the Indian American community over their safety.
Purinton, who fled the scene in his car after opening fire, drove 70 miles before stopping at a restaurant in the neighboring Missouri. He confessed his crime to a bartender, who informed the local law enforcement agency.
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According to the statement given by the staff of Austin’s Bar and Grill, Purinton was a regular customer and he became an alcoholic after the death of his father, which had affected him physically and mentally for two years.
Purinton, who is 52, will spend rest of his life in prison if he is spared of death penalty for the hate crime charges, which is pending with federal authorities.
Johnson County court’s plea agreement doesn’t involve hate crime as it is a federal case, which carries a possible death sentence.