Montgomery County Videotapes Murder Confession

Filed under: Criminal Law, News by Steven F. Fairlie @ December 5, 2012

In what may be a first for Montgomery County, the recent confession of accused murderer Rashunundan Yandamuri, 26, was recorded on videotape.   Yandamuri stands accused of slashing the throat of 61 year old Sutyavath Venna and suffocating 10 month old Saanui Venna, for which he has been charged with First Degree Murder, Kidnapping, Robbery, Theft, and Abuse of Corpse.   The killings occurred in an Upper Merion apartment building on October 22.   The facts of record have not made it clear when the child was killed, as her body was located in a suitcase in the basement of the apartment building 4 days after her grandmother’s body was discovered.  The killer had left 10 copies of a $50,000.00 ransom note in the apartment, making the motive relatively clear.  At his recent Preliminary Hearing Yandamuri, via the videotape confession, claimed that both killings, separately, were unintentional.   There have not been many, if any, Montgomery County juries that have believed two separate killings were both accidental.  Given the note, that defense would still likely result in a verdict of Second Degree Murder and life in prison.  More noteworthy is the fact that Montgomery County Detectives, for the first time that we are aware of, chose to videotape the confession.   Critics have long suggested that videotaping confessions would make for shorter trials and less legal manuevering, as the jury can actually see the defendant say what he did in his own words.  Of course, there will always be speculation about what went on prior to the camera being turned on, but that is better than having no idea what the state of the defendant’s mind was, whether he was intoxicated, and whether he apppeared to understand what he was saying and doing.  All in all, this sounds like a positive step, though only time will tell for sure.  We invite you to leave your opinions below.

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