A defense attorney for a man accused of killing a woman and her granddaughter in a botched ransom kidnapping says his client was coerced into confessing.
The Times Herald reports attorney Stephen Heckman says Raghunandan Yandamuri gave self-incriminating statements to police without being read his Miranda rights and after a grueling 17-hour interrogation process. Heckman filed motions to suppress evidence in Montgomery County Court on Monday.
Yandamuri, 27, is charged with first-degree murder in the October killings of 10-month-old Saanvi Venna and 61-year-old Satayrathi Venna. He's pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors say he kidnapped the girl from her family's King of Prussia apartment and killed her grandmother as she tried to protect her. The child's body was found several days later.
Police say Yandamuri hatched a plan to extort money from the Venna family to eliminate overwhelming gambling debt by holding their daughter Saanvi for ransom. The plan, they say, went horribly wrong when on the morning of Oct. 22, Yandamuri found Satyavathi in the family's apartment in the Marquis complex. She was visiting from India.
The elder Venna was babysitting her granddaughter and fought hard to protect the child, police say.
Yandamuri then stabbed the grandmother and kidnapped the baby, according to investigators.
Four days later, baby Venna's body was found in the basement of the apartment complex with a ransom note from the suspect demanding $50,000.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Yandamuri.