US man who shot dead Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Kansas bar pleads guilty, faces 50 years in jail
Adam W Purinton was charged with one count of murder, two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder for the shootings of Kuchibhotla’s friend Alok Madasani and another patron, Ian Grillot.world Updated: Mar 07, 2018 13:00 IST
A 52-year-old former US navy veteran charged with killing Indian software engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla at a bar in Kansas last year pleaded guilty on Tuesday to murder in the shooting that was linked to a surge in ethnic, racial and anti-immigrant tensions after President Donald Trump’s election.
Adam W Purinton has been charged with one count of murder, two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder for the shootings of Kuchibhotla’s friend Alok Madasani and another patron, Ian Grillot.
Asked by the judge how he would plead to the first-degree murder charge, Purinton said, “Guilty, your honour.”
He was also charged with hate crime. Purinton faces life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years when he is sentenced on May 4 for premeditated first-degree murder.
Witnesses said Purinton, who is white, yelled “Get out of my country!” before firing at the two men, who had stopped for an after-work drink at Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas on February 22, 2017.
The men, both 32, had come to the US as students and worked as engineers at nearby GPS-maker Garmin.
Kuchibhotla’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, was not at the court Tuesday, issued a statement later.
“We must understand and love one another. Let us continue to work for peace, understanding and love -- the things Srinu stood for and will be his legacy,” Dumala said.
She is expected to speak on Friday, which would have been her husband’s 34th birthday.
Dumala, who now has an H-1B visa and started a Facebook page to bring attention to immigration and related issues, was local Congressman Kevin Yoder’s guest at President Trump’s first state of the union address in January.
According to court documents, Purinton was asked to leave the bar when he made the derogatory comments. He returned with a gun 30 minutes later with the lower portion of his face hidden in a scarf.
Madasani told detectives that the gunman asked the men if their “status was legal” before he opened fire, according to an affidavit released last year.
Kuchibhotla, who was shot at least three times, was declared dead at a nearby hospital. Madasani was shot in the leg and Grillot, who had set off after the gunman, in the arm and chest.
After the shooting, Purinton drove 70 miles (110 kilometres) east to Clinton, Missouri, and stopped at a restaurant, where he allegedly confessed to the killings to a bartender, who called the police.
Purinton was a regular customer at Austin’s. Neighbours in the Olathe cul-de-sac where he lived told The Associated Press after the shooting that he became “a drunken mess” following his father’s death about two years before the shooting and had physically and mentally deteriorated.
He still faces federal hate crime charges in the slaying. Federal prosecutors have not determined whether they will seek the death penalty.
(With agency inputs)
First Published: Mar 07, 2018 09:11 IST