International

U.S. man pleads guilty to Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s murder

Adam Purinton, charged with killing an Indian techie and injuring two others in a racially motivated hate crime at a bar in Kansas City, pleaded guilty to the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla before a Kansas court on Wednesday.

Adam Purinton, charged with killing an Indian techie and injuring two others in a racially motivated hate crime at a bar in Kansas City, pleaded guilty to the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla before a Kansas court on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: AP

A U.S. Navy veteran on Wednesday pleaded guilty to the murder of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in a racially motivated hate crime at a bar in Kansas City in 2017 that raised fears of growing intolerance in America following President Donald Trump’s tough rhetoric on immigration.

Adam Purinton, 52, pleaded guilty before a Kansas court.

He was charged with first-degree murder of Kuchibhotla, 32, and two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shootings of his friend, Alok Madasani, and a bystander, who chased Mr. Purinton after he fled the Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe city on February 22, 2017.

Mr. Purinton had yelled “Get out of my country”, before shooting Kuchibhotla who later died of injuries sustained in the attack.

Kuchibhotla and Mr. Madasani worked as engineers at Garmin, a tech company that makes GPS devices.

Mr. Puriton had earlier pleaded not guilty on all these charges and waived his preliminary hearing in late November 2017.

Before allowing Mr. Purinton’s plea, Judge Charles Droege explained to him that changing his plea meant he would face life in prison, as well as a minimum of 146 months, maximum of 653 months in prison for attempted murder, not to mention the sentence he’ll face if convicted of a hate crime in federal court.

Mr. Purinton told the judge he understood, then he sat down as the state presented the details of the February 2017 incident.

Kuchibhotla’s widow Sunayana Dumala welcomed the guilty plea.

“Today’s guilty verdict will not bring back my Srinu, but it will send a strong message that hate is never acceptable,” she said in a statement.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla and his wife Sunayana Dumala. The couple were residents Overland Park, in Kansas City, when Srinivas was fatally shot at following a racial altercation with a 51-year-old retired Navy man.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla and his wife Sunayana Dumala. The couple were residents Overland Park, in Kansas City, when Srinivas was fatally shot at following a racial altercation with a 51-year-old retired Navy man.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Mr. Purinton’s sentencing is scheduled for May 4.

According to court documents, Mr. Purinton’s plea hearing was originally scheduled for May 8 but later it was moved to March 6.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Mr. Purinton committed offences after substantial planning and premeditation, attempted to kill more than one person in a single criminal episode, and knowingly created a grave risk of death to others on the scene.

The incident happened after Mr. Purinton allegedly became agitated with the two Indians who were having a drink after work.

Ian Grillot, a regular at the bar, approached the man and asked him to leave. The suspect left the bar and drove away, according to Mr. Grillot. He allegedly returned later and allegedly opened fire in the bar, according to prosecutors.

The murder generated immense outrage in India.

The murder also drew international attention and raised fears of growing intolerance in America. Many blamed U.S. President Trump’s tough rhetoric on immigration, but the White House rejected any link between that and the shooting.

At the time of the incident, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton tweeted a link to an article on the shooting and called on Mr. Trump to “step up and speak out” against “threats and hate crimes.”

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 10:24:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-man-pleads-guilty-to-indian-techie-srinivas-kuchibhotlas-murder/article22967371.ece

Next Story