Raghunandan Yandamuri, a 32-year-old computer science engineer by qualification and a native of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, is the first Indian-American to be sentenced to death in the United States. Yandamuri was awarded the capital punishment in 2014 for kidnapping and killing a 61-year-old elderly Indian woman, Satayrathi Venna, and her 10-month grand-daughter, Saanvi Venna.
The incident was discerned by the authorities as part of a botched kidnapping-for-ransom plot. The Police authorities were notified of the incident from the dead woman’s son that his infant daughter was missing and that he had discovered a ransom note at the crime scene demanding USD 50,000 for his daughter’s life. Yandamuri had entered US on H-1B visa.
The date of Yandamuri’s execution has been set for February 23 by the local correctional authorities but the death sentence is likely to be revoked owing to a moratorium on the death penalties in the state of California by Governor Tom Wolf which came into effect in 2015.
“Our Governor has said that should an inmate not be issued a stay of execution by a court, he will issue a reprieve…I want you to know this because the likelihood of the execution taking place is slim,” Sue McNaughton, Communications Director, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections informed the news agency PTI.
Yandamuri is currently imprisoned in Greene State Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. According to State officials, Yandamuri’s execution could be delayed for an indefinite period until the moratorium on capital punishments would be lifted in California.