Updated: September 30, 2021 7:48:12 am
The Karnataka High Court Wednesday lifted a legal bar on the execution of serial killer and rapist Umesh Reddy, alias B A Umesh, by dismissing a plea filed by him against the rejection of mercy petition by the President of India in 2012.
Reddy (52), a former police constable, was sentenced to death in 2006 by a sessions court in Bengaluru for the rape and murder of Jayashree Subbaiah, a single mother.
Although he was accused in over 21 cases of rape and murder, he was eventually convicted in the Jayashree Subbaiah murder case on the basis of evidence provided by the victim’s five-year-old son who testified to having seen Reddy leave his house after the murder.
Reddy’s death sentence was upheld by the Karnataka High Court in 2009 and the Supreme Court in 2011. The Supreme Court had ruled that Reddy could not be rehabilitated and that the murder of Subbaiah was the rarest of rare cases.
He filed a mercy petition against the death sentence but the Karnataka government rejected the plea in 2012 and the President of India subsequently rejected it on May 12, 2013.
Reddy approached the High Court against the rejection of his mercy petition by the President of India in 2016 and sought a direction for commuting the death sentence to imprisonment for life.
The case had been pending for the last five years. On Wednesday, a division bench of the High Court comprising Justices Aravind Kumar and Pradeep Singh Yerur dismissed Reddy’s petition.
Reddy has a notorious presence in the crime annals of Karnataka. In 2013, a B-grade Kannada film titled ‘Khatarnak’ delved into the life and crimes of Reddy. Reddy has been named accused in several rape cases in many parts of India, including Gujarat.
His downfall came after the rape and murder of Subbaiah at her home on February 28, 1998 in north Bengaluru. Reddy escaped twice from custody after being arrested in 1999 for the murder.
He was eventually arrested in 2002 and has been in prison since then. Reddy and his crimes have been documented in the international media as well. Police suggested Reddy is a psychopath with tendencies of necrophilia.
In 2006, as a 13-year-old boy, Subbaiah’s son Suresh recounted the evening of his mother’s murder to a trial court in Bengaluru. He told the court that when he returned home after playing outside, he saw a stranger who introduced himself as “Venkatesh Uncle” leaving the house while his mother lay dead on the floor.
Based on Suresh’s deposition, Reddy was sentenced to death by the trial court.
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