Indian American Prisoner’s Execution May Be Deferred

Raghunandan Yandamuri is currently housed at the Greene State Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.


Raghunandan Yandamuri, the 32-year-old Indian American prisoner whose date of execution was set as Feb.23, may get reprieve due to a moratorium on death penalty in Pennsylvania.

“Should an inmate not be issued a stay of execution by a court, he will issue a reprieve,” Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf has said, according to Sue McNaughton, Communications Director, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections said, PTI reported. “I want you to know this because the likelihood of the execution taking place is slim,” McNaughton said.

When asked if Yandamuri knows about his execution, McNaughton said that he has been told. “Yes, he knows about it. In fact, the official document was read to him at his cell door on the same date the notice was signed, ” McNaughton said.

Yandamuri is currently at the Greene State Correctional Institution, which is a maximum-security prison in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.

Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel signed a notice of execution on Jan. 8 setting Feb. 23, 2018 as the date of Yandamuri’s execution. “Yandamuri was sentenced to death in Montgomery County. 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,” said the Notice of Execution.

Since there is no knowledge of when the moratorium on Yandamuri’s execution will be lifted, state officials have indicated that there is a possibility of the execution being delayed for a long time.

Also, because the execution order has been signed, Yandamuri can now only see his lawyer, immediate members of his family and his spiritual adviser.

Results of a study that is being conducted by the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment are now being awaited by the State officials before they move ahead with any execution.

According to the signed order from the Department of Correction, Yandamuri was scheduled to be executed through lethal injection.

Yandamuri said at the Montgomery County Court in April 2015 that he was very dissatisfied with his lawyers, accusing them of not replying to his calls and letters, Daily Mail reported. He had then said that he would prefer to be executed immediately rather than his appeal taking the same course.

Yandamuri is the first Indian American to receive death penalty. The Indian techie from Vizag, who was on a H-1B visa in the United States, was sentenced to death for the murders of an old woman and her 10-month-old granddaughter, for which he was arrested in 2012.

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