Suspected Baby/Grandma Killer Says He Was a Victim


By Indiawest

An Andhra Pradesh software engineer who last October allegedly killed a 10-month baby girl and her grandmother in their King of Prussia, Pa., home, has fired his attorney and now says he was the victim of two assailants who actually committed the murders.

Telugu native Raghunandan Yandamuri has been held without bail since he was arrested Oct. 26, 2012, for allegedly killing little Saanvi Venna and her grandmother Sathyavathi, in what authorities are describing as a botched kidnapping. According to official police reports obtained by India-West, Yandamuri chillingly told police as he was being arrested that he had no intention of harming or killing anyone, and wanted to kidnap the baby for a $50,000 ransom from her Indian American parents, Chenchu “Lata” Venna and Venkata Venna. In an interview with India-West last year, Venkata Venna said he and his wife had been friends with Yandamuri, inviting him and his wife Komila for meals at their home. Komila, who was pregnant at the time of the killings, has returned to India.

In a confession to police taped shortly after he was arrested last fall, Yandamuri said he entered the Venna apartment mid-morning Oct. 22 with a knife, 10 copies of a ransom note, and the intention of snatching Saanvi. But her brave grandmother intervened and tried to grab her grand-daughter back. Yandamuri told police that Sathyavathi “fell” on the tip of his knife and slashed her throat.

Yandamuri then stuffed the little baby into a blue suitcase, according to police reports, and muffled her cries with a handkerchief. He then left the apartment with Saanvi in the suitcase and a handful of jewelry. He then allegedly took the suitcase to the apartment complex’s gym and placed her in the steam room.

In the three days before he was arrested, Yandamuri passed out “missing baby” fliers, as an entire township went on high alert to find baby Saanvi. Yandamuri was finally arrested when the ransom note showed that he had written to Chenchu and Venkata in names used only by the family: Lata and Siva.

The ransom note warned that Saanvi – the couple’s only child – would be killed if the Vennas did not immediately comply.

Four days later, shortly after he was arrested, Yandamuri took police to the steam room, where baby Saanvi was found dead.

In the year since his capture, Yandamuri has repeatedly said he will take the death penalty if he is found guilty of multiple charges of murder, kidnapping, assault and elder abuse. But on Oct. 20, Yandamuri gave an hour-long interview to a Telugu news channel, saying he had fired his public defender, and would argue his case on his own, without an attorney.

In the television interview, Yandamuri said he was the victim of two robbers who entered the Vennas’ apartment, mistakenly entering what they believed to Yandamuri’s home. The two held a grudge against Yandamuri, allegedly because he had been involved in a car accident with one a month earlier. The first robber killed the grandmother while his accomplice snatched the baby and ran to the waiting car, he alleged. In the interview, Yandamuri also said he has DNA and forensic evidence to prove he did not commit the crime. He said he has written to the Indian consulate on numerous occasions, but has received no response.

But lab reports indicate that samples of Yandamuri’s DNA were found under Sathyavathi’s fingernails.

The case is due to go to trial early next year.