First Indian-origin death-row inmate in US to be executed on February 23

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Raghunandan Yandamuri taken into custody in 2013 (Photo courtesy: The Times Herald)

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel has signed a Notice of Execution setting Friday, February 23, 2018, for the execution of Raghunandan Yandamuri.  Yandamuri was sentenced to death in Montgomery County.

If executed, Yandamuri will be the first Indian-origin death-row inmate in the United States  to be executed.

“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 Department of Corrections said in a statement.

Raghunandan Yandamuri taken into custody in 2013 (Photo courtesy: The Times Herald)

Thirty-two-year-old Yandamuri was given death penalty in 2014 for kidnapping and killing a 61-year-old elderly Indian woman and her 10-month-old grand-daughter. It was seen as part of a botched kidnapping-for-ransom plot, PTI reported.

“Yandamuri is the first Indian-American to face death penalty,” PTI said.

Yandamuri’s execution date has been set for February 23 by local correctional authorities. However, he is likely to get a reprieve because of a 2015 moratorium on death penalty by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.

A native of Andhra Pradesh, Yandamuri had come to the US on a H-1B visa. He holds an advanced degree in electrical and computer science engineering. Following his conviction, he asked that death penalty be imposed upon him. Later he appealed his sentence, but lost his appeal last April, according to PTI.

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