The United States’ first death row prisoner of Indian origin will be executed on February 23. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections set the date to execute Raghunandan Yandamuri on Monday.
However, Yandamuri – convicted in 2014 of killing a baby and her grandmother – may not be killed because of a moratorium on the death penalty that was put in place by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf in 2015. Officials in the state administration are awaiting the results of a study by the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment before approving any execution, The Times Herald reported.
No one has been executed in Pennsylvania since 1999.
“This moratorium is in no way an expression of sympathy for the guilty on death row, all of whom have been convicted of committing heinous crimes,” Wolf had said in 2015. “This decision is based on a flawed system that has been proven to be an endless cycle of court proceedings as well as ineffective, unjust, and expensive.”
Yandamuri was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for murdering 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna and her 10-month-old granddaughter. The prosecutors told the court during trial that he had a pile of gambling debt to pay and targeted Venna as he believed she had money.