First Indian-origin Death-row Prisoner in US, to be Executed in February

Published on : January 11, 2018 6:00

Raghunandan Yandamuri, the first death-row Indian-American prisoner in the US, will be executed on February 23. The execution date of Raghunandan Yandamuri, who is convicted of killing a baby and her Indian grandmother, has been set for February 23 by local correctional authorities. Yandamuri is the first Indian-American to face the death penalty.

The 32-year-old Raghunandan Yandamuri was given death penalty in 2014 for kidnapping and killing a 61-year-old elderly Indian Satyavathi Venna and her 10-month-old grand-daughter Saanvi Venna. The murders were seen as part of a botched kidnapping-for-ransom plot.

Prosecutors say Yandamuri needed the ransom money to pay off gambling and credit card debts.

Yandamuri, a native of Andhra Pradesh, had come to the US on an H-1B visa. He holds an advanced degree in electrical and computer science engineering.After conviction, he asked for a death penalty, however, later appealed his sentence, but lost his appeal last April.

Even though Raghunandan Yandamuri’s execution by lethal injection is set for February 23, he might get a reprieve because a death penalty moratorium previously was put in place by Governor Tom Wolf.According to the report, Wolf imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in 2015.

State officials are awaiting the results of a study conducted by the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment, before moving forward with any executions.

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections said in a news release, “The law provides that when the governor does not sign a warrant of execution within the specified time period, the secretary of corrections has 30 days within which to issue a notice of execution.”

Pennsylvania has not seen any executions in the last nearly 20 years. Since 1976, three persons have been executed in the States between 1995 and 1999.