Hyderabad: The American state of Kansas, where a white Navy veteran murdered Hyderabadi engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla last week, has no separate hate crime statute. But the gunman, Adam W. Purinton, faces 50 years in jail under the ‘Hard 50’ law of Kansas.
The state has booked Purinton for murder in the district court of Johnson County. County district attorney Stephen M. Howe tweeted: “KS (Kansas) does not have hate crime statute; those charges have to be in fed (federal) court. If convicted in the district court as charged, Purinton faces Hard 50.” He will be produced in court on February 27.
FBI yet to press charges in killing
The US state of Kansas, where a white forces veteran murdered Hyderabadi engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla last week, has no separate hate crime statute. The Kansas legislative department said in cases where a person is convicted of premeditated first-degree murder, the ‘Hard 50’ law allows a court to impose a life sentence without eligibility for parole for 50 years.
Eyewitnesses accounts, which confirmed that Purinton yelled at Kuchibhotla and his friend Alok Reddy Madasani, to “get out of my country” amounts to a hate crime. The FBI has joined the investigation but is yet to press federal charges.
According to the US hate crime law, offences involving actual or perceived race, colour, religion or national origin, wilfully causing a body injury to any person or through use of a firearm shall be imprisoned for 10 years and if it causes death shall be convicted for any term of years or life and fine. Purinton’s neighbour, Andy Berthelsen, has reportedly testified that the Navy veteran was an alcoholic.
The US media — while quoting those who knew Purington — added that sometimes, he was drunk during the day. But the neighbour claimed that he had never heard Purinton make a racist remark or talk politics. Purinton’s mother, Marsha Purinton, said that her son had “snapped, and this is not his typical self”.