Montgomery County, PA prosecutors are said to be mulling seeking the death penalty for Raghunandan Yandamuri accused of killing 10-month-old Saanvi Venna and her 61-year-old grandmother Satyavathi Venna.
Raghunandan Yandamuri has been charged on multiple counts including First Degree murder for which he is eligible for the death penalty if found guilty.
A local newspaper chain PhillyBurbs cited Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Kevin R.Steele on the case:
The district attorney has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty for Mr. Yandamuri. But from our review there appears to be a number of aggravating circumstances that would warrant the death sentence.
Examples of aggravating circumstances mentioned by Steele were the death of a child under the age of 12 and a killing committed during the course of a felony.
It seems the District Attorney’s office does not disclose if it will seek the death penalty until the formal arraignment is held, which happens after the Preliminary Hearing is held.
Appointment of Mitigation Counsel
Adding credence to the likelihood of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office seeking the death penalty is the appointment of a Mitigation Counsel for Raghunandan Yandamuri.
Apparently, Montgomery County’s board of judges filed an application on Friday appointing Henry S. Hilles III as Raghu’s Mitigation Counsel.
The job of a Mitigation Counsel is to find mitigating circumstances why the defendant should not receive the death sentence.
The Mitigation Counsel is supposed to do a thorough examination of the defendant’s past including mental problems, remorse, youth, childhood abuse or neglect, a minor role in the homicide, absence of a prior criminal record, previous traumas etc and presents them as evidence for avoiding the death penalty.
Raghunandan Yandamuri’s Preliminary Hearing is scheduled for November 28, 2012 in the Montgomery County court room of Magisterial District Judge James P.Gallagher.
Montco DA eyeing death penalty for accused baby killer