Judge to decide on request to move trial
Montgomery County Court Judge Steven T. O'Neill said Monday that he will wait until the first prospective jurors are questioned later this summer to decide if he will relocate the trial or seek an out-of-county jury for a man accused of killing a 10-month-old girl and her 61-year-old grandmother at a King of Prussia apartment complex in October 2012.
The hearing was the first proceeding in which Raghunandan Yandamuri, 28, served as his own lawyer. He is accused of stabbing Satyavathi Venna and suffocating her granddaughter, Saanvi Venna, in a kidnap-and-ransom plot gone awry.
Yandamuri, who was granted his request in May to represent himself, mainly raised procedural issues at the hearing, including what photos could be shown at the trial and whether prosecutors could bring up what he said was false information that he was saddled with gambling debts. He also asked the court to pay for a forensic pathologist and a computer animation/crime scene reconstructionist. The trial is scheduled for Sept. 8.
Yandamuri, who wore a red jail uniform of the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, said his mother and brother were having trouble getting a visa to come from India and be character witnesses for him. Henry S. Hilles 3d, who remains Yandamuri's attorney for the penalty phase of the capital case, suggested they could testify by Skype if they could not come. - Carolyn Davis