Raghunandan Yandamuri, convicted of the 2012 brutal murders of 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna, and her 10-month-old granddaughter Saanvi Venna, in Pennsylvania, will be executed Feb. 23, according to a statement issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Jan. 8.
Yandamuri will be the first Indian American to receive the death penalty. He is scheduled to die by lethal injection. As he awaits his end, Yandamuri is being held at the Greene State Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.
Following his conviction in 2014, the Andhra Pradesh native – who came to the U.S. on an H-1B visa – asked that the death penalty be imposed upon him. "I don't want this hearing. I would rather take the death penalty," Yandamuri told Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven O’Neill before he was sentenced.
The convicted killer later appealed his sentence, saying two other men were involved in the murders and kidnapping of baby Saanvi. Yandamuri lost his appeal last April (see earlier India-West story here).
After he was arrested in 2012, the killer provided a chilling account of how he entered the Vennas’ apartment while Saanvi’s parents, Venkata and Latha, were at work. He fatally stabbed Satyavathi – who was attempting to protect her granddaughter – before kidnapping the baby, which he hoped to use to obtain $50,000 in ransom from her parents.
Yandamuri and his wife Komali were friends with the Vennas and lived in the same apartment building in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
After kidnapping Saanvi, Yandamuri covered her mouth and stuffed the baby in a suitcase, then left her at a basement gym in the apartment building, where she suffocated to death. During a frantic three-day search by police and the local community, Yandamuri handed out missing baby flyers.
Yandamuri was arrested later that week at a local gambling casino. Earlier India-West stories reported that Yandamuri had accrued $35,000 in gambling debts and had filed for bankruptcy while working in Northern California. His wife Komali was pregnant at the time of the murders.