A Montgomery County, Penn., jury late Oct. 14 evening sentenced Raghunandan Yandamuri to death, for the 2012 killings of 10-month-old Saanvi Venna and her 61-year-old grandmother Satyavathi Venna during a botched kidnapping attempt.
A jury deliberated for about three hours before delivering its verdict.
Yandamuri is believed to be the first Indian to be sentenced to death by a U.S. court: his punishment will be delivered by lethal injection.
Yandamuri is not expected to appeal the verdict; five days earlier, Yandamuri had expressed his wish to die to Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O'Neill,
shortly after being convicted on two counts of first degree murder and seven felony charges related to burglary and kidnapping.
In testimony during the sentencing phase of the trial, forensic psychologist Gerald Cooke said Yandamuri suffered from bi-polar depression and has experienced psychotic episodes and depression.
Yandamuri?s mother, Padmavathi Yandamuri, told jurors that her son had never gotten over the death of his father, Surendranath Yandamuri, a policeman who was killed in 1997 by Maoist rebel forces. Padmavathi told jurors that her son had twice tried to take his life ? once at the age of 11 ? by drinking kerosene.
Penalty-phase defense attorney Henry Hilles told jurors they should consider life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for Yandamuri, a native of Vishakapatnam. Hilles said Yandamuri had received psychiatric treatment during his teen years, and suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome, mania and depression after the death of his father.
The defense attorney said Padmavathi Yandamuri would intensely suffer if her only son was sentenced to death. "I am not asking for leniency. Life imprisonment without parole is a horrible way of life,? he said.
But Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele told reporters before the verdict was delivered that Yandamuri?s fate was not for the killer to decide.
Jurors reportedly wept as Venkata Venna ? father of baby Saanvi and son of Satyavathi ? told jurors about finding his mother, who was visiting from India, lying in a pool of blood in the Vennas? apartment kitchen.
?I?ll never forget that moment in my life,? said Venna, tearfully. ?I don?t know how I?m living, how I?m working,? the Indian American said.
In an interview with India-West shortly after little Saanvi?s body was found, Venna said his only child ?has left this world too soon.?
During closing arguments, prosecutor Steele asked the jury to consider the grief the Vennas have suffered in the two years since their family was torn apart in a heinous manner. ?Their testimony is heartbreaking. They?ve suffered so much in the past two years, he said.