Raghunandan Yandamuri Does NOT Plead Guilty; Vennas Murder Case Goes to Trial

Telugu bidda Raghunandan Yandamuri did not plead guilty to the Venna murders in a Montgomery County, PA court room today.

Nor did Magisterial District Judge James P.Gallagher, before whom Raghu appeared, discharge the case.

After seeing the video statement of Raghunandan Yandamuri to the Montgomery County police in which he acknowledged kidnapping 10-month-old Saanvi Venna and killing both Saanvi Venna and her 61-year-old grandmother Satyavathi Venna and unswayed by arguments made by Raghu’s Public Defender attorney Stephen Heckman, Judge Gallagher ordered Raghu to stand trial on first-degree murder, kidnapping and other charges.

Public Defender Stephen Heckman’s argument in the court that his client Raghunandan Yandamuri had no intent to kill cut no ice with Judge Gallagher.

Raghunandan Yandamuri Case Goes to Trial in Venna MurdersRaghunandan Yandamuri Being Escorted to Preliminary Hearing in Bridgeport, PA
Picture courtesy: AP

Montgomery County prosecutors will likely seek the death penalty in a case that Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele described as “one of those cases that haunts you.”

In the video statement, media reports cite Raghunandan Yandamuri telling the police,

I really feel sorry for what happened. I had a good job, a good life. I know this is not a small mistake. I don’t have words to express my problem.

In the video, Raghunandan Yandamuri also acknowledged his gambling problem.

SearchIndia.com blog was the first to highlight Raghunandan Yandamuri’s gambling problems.

Charges Against Raghunandan Yandamuri

Raghunandan Yandamuri, 26, faces a long litany of charges.

Raghunandan Yandamuri Faces Serious Charges

Given the seriousness of charges and the damning video statements/confessions, it’s hard to see how Raghunandan Yandamuri can get off unless there’s an extraordinary miracle.

What Happens Next?

A murder trial is usually a long drawn out affair involving multiple steps including jury selection, pre-trial conference, trial list etc.

The below chart indicates how Raghunandan Yandamuri’s trial will now proceed.

Only the first three steps (Police Arrest, Preliminary Arraignment and Preliminary Hearing) have been completed so far.

Steps in Raghunandamuri Trial

If found guilty after the trial, Raghunandan Yandamuri could face the death penalty or spend life in prison without parole.

Strong Security for Raghu

Raghunandan Yandamuri was brought to the court house in tight security.

Raghu was made to wear a bullet-proof vest and guarded by Montgomery County police officers on all sides.

He was handcuffed and also compelled to wear leg shackles.

The Venna murders have drawn deep revulsion both in the Indian-American community and mainstream Americans as well. So the police had legitimate reason to fear an attack on Raghu.

Komali Alokam Back in India

Raghunandan Yandamuri’s wife Komali Alokam, a housewife, is pregnant and has recently returned to India.

This surprising bit of news was disclosed by Raghu’s lawyer Stephen Heckman.

Related Posts:
Police Complaint Against Raghunandan Yandamuri
Essential Facts about Raghunandan Yandamuri
Telugu Gambler Raghunandan Yandamuri’s Crime Gamble Failed Big Time

15 Responses to "Raghunandan Yandamuri Does NOT Plead Guilty; Vennas Murder Case Goes to Trial"

  1. gandhiji   November 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    where is the video.. where is the video..

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Yenti, meeru anavasaramaina prashnalu adugutunnaru (hey, why are you asking irrelevant questions). πŸ˜‰

    Video is still not on YouTube…I’ll let you know when it does.

    You’re first on my list.

    • nikhilpalla   November 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Here is the video link:

      [Nikhil, I’ve replaced your 2-minute video with below full 21.54-minute video confession of Raghunandan Yandamuri]

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Nikhil, in the below link I have credited you right at the top just below the headline. Thank You, Sweetie Pie. πŸ™‚

      Here’s Raghunandan Yandamuri’s 21:54 Minute Video Confession of the Crimes – http://www.searchindia.com/2012/11/28/telugu-bidda-raghunandan-yandamuri-is-hoisted-with-his-own-petard

  2. GMD1981   November 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Dead (sic) SI,

    Just like an average not-Gulti (he he he) Indian, I have been hooked on to Yandamuris case.

    Partly because of its entertainment/shock value (i am shameless) and partly because I dont want to get Yandamuried myself by some other cranky idiot looking to get rich quick.

    So thanks for covering the case so quickly, and speaking of quickly did you have a “gulti, not gulti, dismissed” write up already prepared, so that as soon as the plea occurs you posted the relevant one?

    Either that or you are keyboard superman. In either cases, sashtaanga namaskaaram πŸ™‚

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Sweetie, in your eagerness to pen the comment you Yendamuried me by writing Dead SI instead of Dear SI.

    The difference between Dead and Dear is more than what my Dear ones can bear.

    Don’t worry.

    Shit Happens, as the Americans love to say. πŸ˜‰

    2. All credit for the fast Yandamuri stories goes to the ‘Dear’ and ‘Dead’ Steve Jobs and his iMac.

    • GMD1981   November 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      oops, I meant “Dear SI”. ( I dont wish you to be dead, you are one my favorite bloggers)

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Please refer to my earlier ‘Shit Happens’ response.

      No sweat, honey!

    • gandhiji   November 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      Ah, I am more shameless than you, SI-killer!

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Not to worry, sweetie!

      As I like to tell people with ‘designs’ on my life, get in line. πŸ˜‰

      Because there are so many ahead of you!

  3. santoshg   November 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks ‘SI’ for update, today I was waiting for this new for a long time now.

    I know this devil (Raghunandan) will not feel guilty at all and the case trial will go on for some days.

    Earth should bear such devils for more time

    And also my request, can you post any status of ‘Saanvi’ parents current status, are they come out of this tragedy?

    It will take more time coz whenever they re-call ‘Saanvi’ in their memories those moments are very painful for them. Somebody who knows them, please give them a support…please….

    One more thing, ‘Saanvi’ first b’day is coming close, December-8. She will celebrate her first birth day in presence of god in heaven for sure.

    Missing you ra ‘Saanvi bamgaram’ but hope your very safe and happy in the heaven with your grand-ma.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Sweetie, it’s hard for Saanvi’s parents “to come out of this tragedy.”

    This horrible incident will likely stay with them till their last breath.

    Best as I know, they’re still in the King of Prussia, PA area (a short drive north of Philadelphia).

    I’m sure the local Indian community is doing the best to provide all solace in the Vennas’ terrible grief.

    2. You write: I know this devil (Raghunandan) will not feel guilty at all and the case trial will go on for some days.

    Whether Raghunandan Yandamuri feels remorse or not matters little at this point of time because what’s done can’t be undone.

    3. As I’ve said time and again, life has no meaning.

    You can take all the precautions you want and do the very best you can but still unpleasant things happen in life.

    • santoshg   November 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      Thank you for your kind words, yes Indian community and Telugu community surely helps them… Even an unknown to them, I am still not able to come out from thoughts of ‘Saanvi’, her incident showed such an impact on me. I am still crying for the baby.

      @SI: Please also post few good things and pics of ‘Saanvi’ on December-8, that is her first b’day…

      SearchIndia.com Responds:


  4. shar   November 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Moral of the story- Golti never feel Guilty πŸ™‚

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Sweetie, Evil lurks everywhere. Not just among Telugus.

    Please Read below what a Tamil guy beast did just yesterday:


  5. Desimom99   November 28, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Until today I thought he would have just plead guilty and thought he would get off with a life in prison without parole but I guess now he is out to waste more of taxpayers $$$$$ by going to trial.

    Either way, I do not think the jury is going to have a hard time with this case.

    By him not admitting guilt, it will just drag this out and waste everyone’s time and money!

    I am also glad you posted about his wife. I wondered if she would have been “allowed” to leave the country in case the police wanted to question her etc. I would think she is better off in India where she at least has her family’s support. I wonder if she will also be part of the trial?

    So the next step is pre-trial conference? What happens in that?

    All seriousness aside, because of this case I am getting a crash course is the US judicial system!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. The big question is, Why is Raghu Yandamuri dragging it out?

    Raghunandan Yandamuri’s goose is already well-cooked! He has no bargaining chips!

    2. You write: So the next step is pre-trial conference? What happens in that?

    After the Superior Court arraignment, your next date in court will be the pretrial conference. At the pretrial conference, important motions are argued. Typical motions in a criminal case include the following:

    1. Motion to Suppress

    2. A Motion to Suppress is filed when your attorney believes that there are grounds to suppress either physical items taken from you or statements made by you.
    Penal Code Β§ 995 Motion to Dismiss

    3. A 995 Motion to Dismiss will be filed by your attorney if they believe there was insufficient evidence at the preliminary hearing from which the judge could make a finding of probable cause.
    Motion to Release Information

    4. In certain types of felony cases, most notably sex abuse and child molestation cases, the victims psychological and/or medical records may be relevant. A motion will be filed by your attorney to disclose that information. It is not automatically disclosed because of its privileged nature.

    5. Motion to Sever

    6. In various circumstances, your attorney may wish to have your case separated from that of a co-defendant or have one or more of your charges tried separately from the others.

    7. At your pretrial conference, your attorney will have the opportunity to continue discussions with the District Attorney in an attempt to reach a plea bargain, if that is what you and the attorney are seeking. Possible favorable dispositions may include the following: A plea bargain that would strike a prior conviction; a plea bargain that would strike a prior serious felony; a plea bargain that would reduce the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor; a plea bargain that would reduce the charge from a serious or “strike” offense to a simple felony, or wobbler offense. A wobbler offense is an offense that has the possibility of “wobbling down” to a misdemeanor. Practically speaking, this means that your attorney can request that the offense be reduced to a misdemeanor either during your probationary period or at the end of your probationary period.

    Source: http://corporate.findlaw.com/litigation-disputes/common-criminal-law-questions.html

    • Desimom99   November 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Has a date been set for the pretrial conference?

      I wonder if they will go for option #7 above but these crimes are so heinous that a plea bargain should NOT be an option for him.

      Do you know if the hearing this morning was open to public?

      There was a case here locally where the boyfriend murdered his girlfriend and their baby and it was open to public.

      Someone here went to the entire trial and posted a blog everyday when the trial was going on.

      It was “interesting” to follow that blog. The killer eventually go life in prison without possibility of parole!

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      1. Today’s hearing was not held in camera, meaning it was open to the public.

      2. They have not set the dates for pre-trial conference yet. It should happen fairly soon, perhaps in a few days.

      3. Plea bargain seems highly unlikely given that our gambler Raghunandan Yandamuri has no bargaining chips with him other than the cost to the tax payer of the trial.

      The video statement says it all unless he can manage to have it suppressed it in court, which I doubt he can.

      4. Now, the most interesting question is:

      * Will Raghunandan Yandamuri take the stand during the trial and ‘explain’ his actions?

      5. Even if Raghu Yandamuri gets the Death Penalty, it’ll be 10-15 years before they insert the needle in him given the backlog of cases in the state.

      According to the NYT, there are already 205 inmates on Death Row in Pennsylvania.

      So Raghunandan Yandamuri is assured of food, clothing, shelter and medical care for the rest of his life.

      Raghu’s only risk now – The high possibility of serious, vicious assault by fellow prisoners. Child molesters and baby killers are not popular in American prisons!

      • GMD1981   November 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm

        From what I understand. If one gets a death penalty, he/she is in solitary confinement with 1 hour of “outside time” allowed in a day. This is the norm from what I understand. I could be wrong though.

        If Raghu understands how dangerous the life w/o parole option is (since its not solitary), then he would try his best to get death penalty and end up in solitary somehow.

        I think that is what is motivating him. Also Komali might be searching for a job somewhere, and probably did not find it by the time the prelim hearing was done, that might be another factor.

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        1. Komali is back home in Mera Bharat Mahaan.

        2. Raghunandan Yandamuri’s best option is to pray to Lord Balaji of the Seven Hills for the Death Penalty and spend the remaining 10-15 years left (given the backlog on Death Row, Appeals process etc) writing Sri Rama Jayam or chanting Venkatramana Govinda, Govinda a trillion times.

        If he’s thrown in with the general population, Yandamuri will be Chutney-Poori soon.

    • santoshg   November 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      I think devil Raghunandan is going for a trial because he got confirmed that he will be punished with death penalty and he is doing all these gamblings to postpone his death date…

      No one need to guide him on that as this idiot is already very much good at gambling….

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      You write: this idiot is already very much good at gambling…

      Contrary to what you write above, Raghu is not a good gambler.

      His recent gambles, both literal and figurative, have misfired badly!

      BTW, there’s no such thing as a good gambler.

      Casinos set up their operations to ensure that the House (i.e. Casinos) always have the upper hand.

      Unfortunately, casinos are sprouting everywhere in the U.S. these days because desperate, financially-strapped state governments see them as a source of easy revenues.

      There must be at least 20-25 casinos in a radius of 200-miles from my place.

      MD, PA, DE, NJ, NY….the casinos are all over the place. πŸ™

      • santoshg   November 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm

        Thank ‘SI’ for sharing this with us.

        Hope the rest take an example of Raghunandan’s life and pay more caution and stay away from these Casinos and all, at least the people from India see this story and try to learn some thing coz you all went there to do some thing for your parents and families. Appreciate if you did some good things if not come back to India but please do not harm to good people around you…

        • gandhiji   November 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm

          Can we harm bad people?

          Mugamudi (Mask)-style. (SI, not sure if you noticed. NFLX streaming has some new Tamil movies now after beeing stuck on Peck on the Cheek for a long time. Mugamudi is one of them. None of them are worth watching.. including the “Strangers on a Train”-copy Muran.)

          SearchIndia.com Responds:

          I canceled my NFLX streaming option….just have the 1-CD version now.

          Just checked, on the CD side too Tamil collection is bad. Hell, they don’t even have Enthiran yet!

          They’re pretty good for Hindi though – JTHJ and SOS are coming next month.

  6. indianforever   November 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Guys .. stop commenting about gulte and telugu biddas, I don’t understand why u always mention telugu bidda in your write ups.

    We all know he had done a big mistake.

    We all feel very sad about the baby and her grand mother.

    It doesn’t mean all the Telugu people are criminals.

    Please consider this as a request. Not to blame anyone.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Sweetie, it’s important not to blame any single community for the actions of a lone ranger (Raghunandan Yandamuri).

    I frequently see Telugus disparaging Tamils as Aravas, Sambar, Idli-Sambar etc and Tamils in turn talking ill of Telugus.

    Both sides are wrong to ridicule each other.

    2. Telugu bidda is a factually accurate representation of Raghunandan Yandamuri.

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