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Confession of alleged baby killer played in court

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 28 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 29 2012 04:23:34 AM CST

Was it an accident or premeditated murder?

Was it an accident or premeditated murder? A Montgomery County man is heading to trial. He's accused of killing a 10-month-old girl and her grandmother last month.

Prosecutors say it happened during a botched kidnapping in King of Prussia that triggered an amber alert and an intense search.

Raghunandan Yandamuri, 26, was in court Wednesday. During the preliminary hearing, a 20-minute videotaped confession was played where Yandamuri claimed he killed the baby and her grandmother by accident.

The parents of 10-month-old Saanvi Venna sat quietly in court Wednesday, and listened as Yandamuri calmly and matter-of-factly described in a taped interview confession what happened October 22.

"My intention was not to kill anyone or not to harm anyone; I only tried to kidnap the baby," Yandamuri told investigators.

But the baby's grandmother, Satyavathi Venna tried to protect the 10-month-old she was babysitting. In the video Yandamuri demonstrates how he held the baby in one arm when Saanvi slipped. He says she dropped and he fell on top of her, at the same time accidentally slashing the grandmother across the throat.

"Immediately the grandmother collapsed," he said.

At this point Yandamuri tells detectives Saanvi was crying and he tried to stop her by stuffing a handkerchief in her mouth.

"I kept the kerchief's on the mouth and I surrounded the head with the towel around the neck and I tied it hard, but I don't know if that was too tight for her."

Next he says he put the baby in a suitcase, and took her through the fire escape to the gym at the apartment complex.

"I opened the suitcase and I took the Saanvi out of the suitcase, by the time I saw her she's unconscious," he told investigators. "I splashed some water on her face but she did not move."

He told police he left the girl while he returned home, took a shower and went back to work. He goes on to confess when he got home around 3:30 he went to check on Saanvi.

"I took a bottle of milk, like this kind of water bottle, and I filled it with the milk," he said.

"You put it with milk from your house?" asked a detective.

"Yeah, from my house," said Yandamuri.

"And where did you go? the detective asked.

"I went to the gym again where Saanvi is and I tried, thought of feeding her, is she is awake," said Yandamuri.

By that time the baby was dead.

Yandamuri admitted in court he had a gambling problem, and investigators say he was hoping to ransom Saanvi for $50,000. In the days after the crime Yandamuri went to vigils and stood by the family's side as they searched for their daughter.

The prosecution is considering the death penalty.