Share “Suspect in baby, grandma deaths had casino...”

Suspect in baby, grandma deaths had casino losses

Associated Press Modified: November 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm •  Published: November 28, 2012
Advertisement

When asked by police if he had a gambling problem, he replied "a bit."

"Last week I lost $15,000 to $20,000, but last month I won $20,000," he said on the videotape.

He said he had cleared most of his debts through a March bankruptcy filing in California.

Those records show that Yandamuri had amassed $26,000 in credit card debts since 2008, most of it on six accounts he opened in 2011. He was making $6,500 a month at the time, and netting $4,500 after taxes and deductions, he said. He reported sending $600 a month to his parents in India.

Yandamuri moved to the Philadelphia area from San Jose in the spring, about the same time his wife was expected to come to the U.S., the bankruptcy filings show. She has since returned to India, defense lawyer Stephen Heckman said Wednesday.

He worked for GSI from March to Oct. 26, when he was dismissed, the company said.

Yandamuri told police that he drafted the ransom note on his computer at work and left 10 copies at the apartment. After the slayings, he showered and returned to work, he said. Later that week, he made and distributed fliers to help in the search for the missing baby.

The victims' relatives moaned as they watched him re-enact the crime with a detective during the taped interview. Venkata Venna was among them, but his wife chose to wait in a nearby room.

Heckman tried to have the first-degree murder charges dismissed, arguing that his client lacked the intent to kill required for a conviction. However, a district judge said there was enough evidence to send the first-degree murder, felony murder and the other counts to trial.

Heckman hopes to help his client avoid the death penalty, which is under consideration by prosecutors.

"I'll have to talk to my client and see what he wants to do," Heckman said. "He was very sorry for what happened."

Kevin Steele, first assistant district attorney of Montgomery County, called the murders "vicious."

"This is one of those cases that haunts you," Steele said.