The trial of an Indian-American man accused of orchestrating the contract killing of Sparkle Michelle Rai, his 22-year-old black daughter-in-law, began this week in Atlanta, Georgia. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Chiman Rai, 68, who they say planned the murder because he did not approve of his son's marriage to a black woman.
Rajeeve "Ricky" Rai, the son of the defendant, returned home to the couple's apartment on the night of April 26, 2000, to find that his wife had been strangled and stabbed to death, according to charges filed by the prosecution. Their daughter, Analla, who was not yet one at the time, had been present during the murder but was left unharmed.
The case remained unsolved for six years until investigators traced it back to Chiman, a former math professor who immigrated with his family to the US in 1970. Chiman faces charges including felony murder and conspiracy to commit a crime. Four other men, including various middlemen and the alleged killer, are also on trial.
Since the killing, Ricky has married an Indian woman and earned a business degree from Northwestern University in Illinois, the Journal-Constitution reported. He said Tuesday that he has not seen his daughter since shortly after the murder.