Saanvi Venna Murder: Suspect in Phila. grandmother, baby slayings had casino losses
(CBS/AP) BRIDGEPORT, Pa. - Raghunandan Yandamuri, a neighbor charged with killing a 10-month-old girl and her grandmother during a botched kidnapping, told police he had lost $15,000 gambling at casinos the week before.
A videotaped police statement given by the 26-year-old suspect last month was played at his preliminary hearing near Philadelphia on Wednesday.
In the video, Yandamuri tells police he had a good job and good life but planned the kidnapping to get money from the baby's parents, both software engineers.
"They both are working, so I thought maybe they have some money," Yandamuri told police.
Yandamuri says he never meant to hurt anyone and panicked on October 22 after the grandmother was killed in a struggle involving the knife he had brought.
He says he accidentally dropped the baby, put a handkerchief over her mouth to quiet her, and left her in a trash-strewn, unused sauna in their apartment complex.
When asked by police if he had a gambling problem, Yandamuri replied "a bit."
"Last week I lost $15,000 to $20,000, but last month I won $20,000," he said on the videotape.
He said he had cleared most of his debts through a March bankruptcy filing in California.
Those records show that Yandamuri had amassed $26,000 in credit card debts since 2008, most of it on six accounts he opened in 2011. He was making $6,500 a month at the time, and netting $4,500 after taxes and deductions, he said. He reported sending $600 a month to his parents in India.