May 5, 2018 / 3:34 PM / 6 months ago

American who killed Indian man in Kansas bar sentenced to life

(Reuters) - A U.S. Navy veteran who reportedly told an Indian software engineer to “get out of my country” before shooting him dead and wounding two others in a bar in Kansas last year has been sentenced to life in prison, the local prosecutor said.

FILE PHOTO: Adam Purinton, 51, accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and wounding Alok Madasani, 32, as well as an American who tried to intervene, appearing via video conference from jail during his initial court appearance in Olathe, Kansas, U.S., February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jill Toyoshiba/The Kansas City Star/Pool

Under the sentence, Adam Purinton, 52, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in March, will not be eligible for parole for 50 years, District Attorney Steve Howe said in a statement on Friday.

Johnson County District Court Judge Charles Droege also sentenced Purinton to an additional 165 months on each of two other charges stemming from the wounding of two other men, Howe said.

The February 2017 murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, in a bar in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe drew international attention as part of a wave of attacks across the country against blacks, Jews, Muslims and other groups following the 2016 election of U.S. President Donald Trump, who had made a crackdown on illegal immigration part of his platform.

Kuchibhotla was a legal U.S. resident as the holder of a work visa.

The Kansas City Star newspaper reported that at least one bystander said Purinton shouted “get out of my country” before opening fire on Kuchibhotla and two other men who were having after-work drinks at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe.

Wounded in the attack were Alok Madasani, Kuchibhotla’s co-worker at U.S. company Garmin Ltd, which makes navigational and fitness-tracking devices, and Ian Grillot, an American who tried to intervene.

Purinton still faces federal hate crimes and firearms charges following a U.S. grand jury indictment last June, accusing him of shooting the two Indian men because of their race, color, religion and national origin.

In a statement reported by the Kansas City Star, Kuchibhotla’s wife, Sunayana Dumala, told the court that her husband lived a life of “love and respect for others,” and had big dreams for the aviation industry that would have benefited other workers.

“I hope in the years that you must spend in the jail you will one day realize the magnitude of your mistake and work towards your penance,” she told Purinton.

Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler

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