The United States Department of Justice on Wednesday awarded three life sentences to Adam Purinton for killing Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Kansas in February 2017. A federal court ordered Purinton to serve the three life sentences after he pleaded guilty to three federal hate crime charges, for targeting his victims “because of their race, colour and national origin”.
In May, a Johnson County court sentenced him to life in prison on first-degree murder charges for killing Kuchibhotla. His sentences will run consecutively.
The 53-year-old Navy veteran had shot at Indian national Alok Madasani and Kansas resident Ian Grillot, who had tried to stop him, on the day of the incident. Purinton reportedly yelled “get out of my country” before fatally shooting Kuchibhotla at a bar.
In a statement released by the Justice Department, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Purinton’s crimes were detestable. “The defendant acted with clear premeditation in murdering one man, and attempting to murder a second man, simply because of their race, religion, and national origin,” Sessions said. “Securing this sentence is important not only to the victims and their loved ones, but also to our justice system and our nation as a whole.”
A prosecutor read a statement on behalf of Kuchibhotla’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, who said it is “extremely painful for me to witness or face the shooter in person”. “My American Dream – and that of Srinu’s – is broken,” Dumala’s statement said. “If you could have kept your anger inside and spoke to my husband softly, Srinu would have been more than happy to share his background and help you understand that not every brown skinned person is suspicious or evil, but kind, smart and contributing to America. Instead you chose to rage and bully in anger and when you were stopped, you decided to take their lives.”