Raghunandan Yandamuri to be executed on Feb. 23

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NEW YORK – Indian American Raghunandan Yandamuri, who was sentenced to death in 2014 for killing a baby and her grandmother back in 2012, will be executed in Pennsylvania on Friday, Feb. 23.

According to the Times Heralds, the “Notice of Execution” was signed by Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel on Monday.

“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,” officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections wrote in a news release announcing Yandamuri’s execution date.

According to the Times Heralds, Yandamuri, now 32, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death by a jury in 2014 in connection with the Oct. 22, 2012, deaths of 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna and her 10-month-old granddaughter, Saanvi, at The Marquis apartment complex in Upper Merion, Pennsylvania.

At trial, then First Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Deputy District Attorney Samantha Cauffman characterized the case as a kidnapping for ransom that went the wrong way as prosecutors alleged Yandamuri, a neighbor to the Venna family, needed money to repay his gambling debts and targeted the Venna family for his kidnapping scheme because he believed they had the money.

Yandamuri initially denied killing both the infant and the grandmother but later allegedly told police that when he entered the victims’ apartment, “he grabbed Saanvi, but dropped her during a deadly scuffle with the grandmother. When he could not quell the child’s cries, he stuffed a handkerchief in her mouth and secured it with a bath towel. Yandamuri then placed Saanvi in a blue suitcase.”

Saanvi was found dead in the basement of the apartment complex on Oct. 26.

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