Court Upholds Death Sentence in Killing of Baby, Grandmother in Gambling Plot

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (Associated Press) — Pennsylvania's high court has affirmed the death sentence for a man convicted in the 2012 murders of a baby and her grandmother in what prosecutors called a botched kidnapping plot.

Raghunandan Yandamuri (rag-oo-NAHN'-dahn yahn-duh-MOHR'-ee) was convicted and sentenced to death in 2015 for the killings of 10-month-old Saanvi Venna (SAHN'-vee VEHN'-ah) and 61-year-old Satayrathi Venna (SAHN'-vee VEHN'-ah).

Prosecutors argued he hatched the kidnapping plot to pay for a gambling habit. He was a technology professional from India and knew the baby's parents.

He told investigators he panicked and the deaths were accidental. He served as his own lawyer and at trial said he was pressured into confessing.

The court said in a ruling Friday it found the sentence was based on the evidence presented at trial.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has imposed a statewide moratorium on executions.

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