Indian techie’s killer convicted in US

June 24th, 2008 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, June 24 (IANS) An African American youth has been convicted for the 2005 murder of an Indian software professional and community activist in the US. He stands to serve a life sentence without parole. Howard Dale Bellamy, 24, was Monday held guilty of robbing and killing Akhil Chopra in a Houston park where the latter had gone to meditate.

Chopra, an active volunteer for many Hindu organisations, came to the US from Ahmedabad in 2001 to pursue his master’s degree. He was found dead on Aug 11, 2005 with a gunshot wound in his temple and his wallet missing. He was 28 at the time of the murder.

Chopra’s parents, his brother and his extended family live in Ahmedabad and New Delhi.

Prosecutors, who did not seek a death sentence for Bellamy, said he beat Chopra before shooting him with a .38-calibre revolver.

Bellamy, while testifying, had earlier tried to give the alibi that at the time of his murder he and his girlfriend spent time with his grandmother and then went to eat a pizza. However, the girlfriend in question, Domonique Alston, did not back his alibi.

Defence attorney Doug Durham told jurors that Alston could not be trusted and lied to protect another member of the gang to which Bellamy belonged.

The trial was delayed for three years, mainly to gather evidence and analyse it.

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