Indian American on trial for getting son’s black wife killed

June 14th, 2008 - 8:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, June 14 (IANS) An Indian American goes on trial Monday in Atlanta on charges of arranging the contract killing of his black daughter-in-law he didn’t seemingly approve of. Chiman Rai, 67, a former math professor, was indicted in 2006 for giving $10,000 to two brothers for killing 22-year-old Sparkle Rai.

Sparkle was found stabbed and strangled in her apartment in Union City, Georgia in 2002, just steps away from her seven-month-old daughter who was unharmed.

As prosecutors prepare to try the death penalty case against Rai, their challenge will be to prove that he was so enraged over his son’s marriage to a black woman that he hired killers to eliminate her.

The son, Ricky, has re-married since, this time to an Indian.

Rai brought his family to the US in 1970 from India. After teaching at Alcorn State University in Mississippi, he ran a supermarket and then bought a hotel in Louisville in Kentucky, where he hired Sparkle Reid as a clerk.

Sparkle, daughter of a news reporter, fell in love with Ricky and the two were wed. Her murder went unsolved until two witnesses came forward in 2004 and identified Cleveland Clark as the killer, helped by brother Carl Clark. Both were serving time in a Mississippi prison for armed robbery when they were charged for the murder.

Rai’s defence lawyer has insisted in court that Rai is innocent. At a bond hearing in 2006, defence attorney Mike McDaniel called him “as stable a person as you’re going to find”.

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