Mumbai/Kansas: A US Navy veteran was sentenced to life in jail for killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the Indian techie from Hyderabad. The engineer was killed at a bar in the city of Olathe in Kansas last year. The murder was a racially motivated hate crime and the tragic death had sparked international outrage.
“Get out of my country!” 52-year-old Adam W Purinton yelled before firing shots at 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla and his friend who were at Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe city on February 22 last year. Kuchibhotla died after he was taken to a hospital, while his friend Alok Madasani was injured. Another man, Ian Grillot, who tried to intervene was also shot.
The attack, which happened just over a month after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, led to serious concerns among Indian families in the US and brought the spotlight on hate crimes targeting Indians.
US President Donald Trump was also criticised for not speaking against the incident. However, he raised the issue later in an address to the Congress. In January this year, Kuchibhotla’s wife Sunayana Dumala was invited to Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address.
Adam W Purinton received the maximum punishment for the murder, and two sentences of 165 months each for the attempted murders, the prosecutor’s office said. While Purinton would be eligible for parole in 50 years, he was likely to spend the rest of his life in prison, reported news agency AFP.
He is also facing federal hate crime and firearms charges, which could result in the death penalty. Purinton has pleaded not guilty in the federal case.
In March this year, Adam W Purinton had pleaded guilty to the charges of murdering Kuchibhotla.
Purinton was charged with first-degree murder of Kuchibhotla and two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shootings of his friend, Alok Madasani.
Sunayana Dumala welcomed the US court’s decision and said, “Today’s sentencing in the murder of my husband will not bring back my Srinu, but it sends a strong message that hate is never acceptable.”
“I want to thank the District Attorney’s office and the Olathe police for their efforts to bring this man to justice,” she added.
Kuchibhotla, who grew up in Hyderabad, moved to US to study engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso. Later, he bought a house, got married and planned to start a family, his wife had said.
Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were aviation systems engineers for GPS manufacturer Garmin. Madasani had later said the two close friends met regularly at the Austin’s Bar and Grill, where the incident happened.
Purinton was captured later at a nearby restaurant, where he had allegedly boasted of killing Middle Easterners, according to the Kansas City Star newspaper.