Prosecutors for a King of Prussia alleged double-murder case involving the 2012 death of a woman and her baby granddaughter have asked a Montgomery county common pleas court judge to admit evidence of defendant Raghunandan Yandamuri’s prior gambling debts as motive for the crimes he is accused of, according to Montgomery Life.
The district attorney’s office filed a motion last week to introduce Yandamuri’s “prior acts” into evidence at his upcoming trial.
Prosecutors have charged Yandamuri with the deaths of Satyavathi Venna, 61, and her Saanvi Venna, Venna’s 10-month-old granddaughter, advocating the idea that they died directly because Yandamuri planned a ransomed kidnapping against the Upper Merion family that he believed “had money.”
Yandamuri ran up over $32,000 worth of gambling debts in casinos in Las Vegas and Reno during the months before the murders, per court documents.
According to prosecutors, due to the gambling debts, the defendant asked friends for loans and filed for bankruptcy while he lived in California.
Yandamuri married his wife in 2012, then is said to have moved to Upper Merion.
From April to October of that year, he went to the Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia 54 times, losing over $30,000.
According to the motion, he lost $34,800 at the casino three days before Venna and her granddaughter were killed.
The motion advances the argument that the inclusion of the defendant’s older gambling habits advance a blueprint for his criminal motive, and will not prejudice him.
The lead prosecutors in the case will be Kevin R. Steele, First Assistant District Attorney, and Samantha Cauffman, Deputy District Attorney.
Steve Heckman, Yandamuri’s defense attorney, did not return calls seeking his input to Montgomery Life by press time.