Court upholds death sentence in killing of baby, grandmother

Written by The Associated Press | Apr 28, 2017 5:23 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's high court has affirmed the death sentence for a man convicted in the 2012 murders of a baby and her grandmother in what prosecutors called a botched kidnapping plot.

Raghunandan Yandamuri was convicted and sentenced to death in 2015 for the killings of 10-month-old Saanvi Venna and 61-year-old Satayrathi Venna.

Montgomery County prosecutors argued Yandamuri hatched the kidnapping plot to pay for a gambling habit. He was a technology professional from India and knew the baby's parents.

He told investigators he panicked and the deaths were accidental.

At trial, though, Yandamuri -- who had served as his own lawyer-- said he was pressured into confessing.

The court says in a ruling Friday it found the sentence was based on the evidence presented at trial.

Democratic Governor Tom Wolf has imposed a statewide moratorium on executions.

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