U.S. Man Pleads Guilty to Indian Techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s Murder
U.S. Navy veteran Adam Purinton pleaded guilty to premeditated first degree murder of Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injuring two others before a Kansas court.
A U.S. Navy veteran pleaded guilty to premeditated first degree murder of Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injuring two others before a Kansas court on March 6.
In a hate crime that drew global attention, the accused 52-year-old Adam Purinton was charged with first degree murder of 32-year-old Kuchibhotla, and two counts of attempted first degree murder in the shooting of Kuchibhotla’s friend Alok Madasani and a bystander Ian Grillot who ran after Purinton when he fled from Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe city on Feb. 22, 2017.
Kuchibhotla’s widow Sunayana Dumala welcomed the guilty plea. “Today’s guilty verdict will not bring back my Srinu, but it will send a strong message that hate is never acceptable,” she said in a statement. She will hold a walk to Austin Grill and Bar in Olathe in Kuchibhotla’s memory on March 9.
Sentencing for this case is scheduled for May 4. Purinton faces penalty of death or life imprisonment.
The guilty plea is a change from Purinton’s stance in November last year where he pleaded not guilty to all charges and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Before he changed his plea, Judge Charles Droege told Purinton that reversing his stance meant that he would face life in prison, a minimum of 146 months and maximum of 653 months in prison for attempted murder, and another sentence if he is convicted of a hate crime in federal court, kcur.org reported.
The hearing was originally set for May 8 but was moved to March 6 at Johnson County District Court.
According to witnesses, Purinton approached Kuchibhotla and Madasani, and asked them where they hailed from and how they got to the United States. He was soon escorted out of the bar by Ian Grillot, but he returned with a Taurus 9mm handgun. Purinton shouted at the two Indian men, “Get out of my country” before shooting at them. He shot Kuchibhotla several times, and a shot hit Madasani in the thigh. When Grillot tried to intervene, Purinton shot at him, injuring his hands and chest, before driving away. He was arrested hour later at a restaurant in Clinton, Missouri, 112 km away from Olathe. The bartender, as per 911 calls records, told the police that Purinton said he shot two “Iranian” people in Olathe and wanted a place to hide.
This case brought in questions about the rise in incidence of hate crimes in the United States.
Federal prosecutors told the court that Purinton “committed offences after substantial planning and premeditation, targeted the two men because of because of their race, ethnicity or national origin, attempted to kill more than one person in a single criminal episode, and knowingly created a grave risk of death to others on the scene.”