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Contract Killings


Friday, 4 July 2008

Sentenced Chiman Rai to life in prison convicted of ordering a hitman to kill his daughter-in-law

sentenced Chiman Rai to life in prison Friday, the day after he was convicted of ordering a hitman to kill his daughter-in-law.Prosecutors had sought the death penalty.
Sparkle Rai, then 22, was strangled and stabbed 8 years ago. And while her breath was being choked from her, she reached toward her baby daughter, Analla.
Those are just some of the facts that make the murder so different from the more than 100 killings that Fulton County suffers every year and why Chiman Rai should be sentenced to death, prosecutor Sheila Ross told a Superior Court jury today.
"This particular murder, outrageous, wantonly vile," Ross said. "The brutal murder of this young mother not only justifies but demands the death penalty."
Rai, 68, had Sparkle killed because she married his son a month earlier, and Rai viewed the young woman as unacceptable because she was black, prosecutors have said.
Sparkle Rai was murdered April 26, 2000 in her Union City apartment and the case went unsolved until a break two years ago indicated that her relationship with Rajeeve "Ricky" Rai, now 27, was the motive.
Defense lawyer Don Samuel argued that while Rai may have hired a hit man, he didn't order such a brutal killing. And while there was evidence that Rai, a native of India, believed his son's marriage would cast a stigma on his family in caste-conscious Indian society, Samuel said Rai wasn't a racist and had strong support in the African-American community in Jackson, Miss., where he had run a grocery and other businesses."It is not necessary for you to kill Chiman Rai," Samuel told jurors. "This was not a crime motivated by greed and while I know the prosecution disagrees with me, this was not a hate crime."He did it out of some perverted belief that it was in the best interest of his son."Donna Lowry, Sparkle Rai's stepmother, testified and asked jurors to think of Sparkle's child Analla, who is being raised by Lowry and Sparkle's father, Bennet Reid.
"I'm here to speak for someone whose voice will not be heard in this courtroom, she is too young," said Lowry, a reporter for WXIA-TV.
She said the last time she saw Sparkle Rai was with Analla at church on Easter Sunday 2000."It is very painful for me to think of what happened to her three days later," Lowry said.On the day her mother's body was found, Analla never cried as if she was in shock, Lowry said. And then for months, the baby would wake up screaming in the night.The family has told Analla that her mother is in heaven and have tried to shield the elementary school student from the details of her mother's death, Lowry said.She noted the Analla is inquisitive but never has asked how her mother died. Lowry dreads the day that changes."Someday she will ask and that will be one of the hardest conversations we'll ever have." Lowry said. "Then she'll know she was there when it happened."

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