Not guilty plea in King of Prussia kidnap-murder case

Posted: March 16, 2013

Raghunandan Yandamuri pleaded not guilty Friday to first-degree murder and 11 other charges in a bizarre kidnap-and-ransom case that turned deadly in a King of Prussia apartment complex last October.

The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office is seeking the death penalty against Yandamuri, 27, in the deaths of 10-month-old Saanvi Venna and her grandmother.

Yandamuri allegedly stormed into the apartment where 61-year-old Satayvathi Venna was babysitting her granddaughter Saanvi on Oct. 22. Authorities said his plan was to kidnap the child and try to get ransom from the Venna family to pay debts. Instead, Yandamuri, who knew the Venna family, allegedly killed the grandmother when she tried to protect Saanvi. Satayvathi Venna was visiting from India.

Authorities said Yandamuri then took the baby, finding her body four days later in an unused basement sauna in another building at the same apartment complex.

Judge Steven T. O'Neill accepted the 13 not-guilty pleas from Yandamuri's court-appointed lawyer, Stephen G. Heckman, as the defendant sat quietly next to his attorney. O'Neill said the defense could have all the time it needed to prepare for the trial since it was a death-penalty case, but expected the proceeding could begin in the fall.

Yandamuri is being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.


Contact staff writer Carolyn Davis at 610-313-8109, cdavis@phillynews.com, or @carolyntweets on Twitter.

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