Editor's note: Offensive language is used in this story.
A federal judge on Tuesday handed down three consecutive life sentences to an Olathe resident who pleaded guilty to hate crimes in May for killing an Indian national and wounding two other men.
The sentences are to run consecutively with the life sentences Adam Purinton received after he pleaded guilty earlier in state court to charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
In sentencing Purinton, U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia adhered to the terms of Purinton’s plea agreement with federal prosecutors, which spared him a possible death sentence.
The sentences ensure that Purinton, 53, will spend the rest of his life in prison.
In pleading guilty to hate crime and firearm offenses, Purinton admitted that he targeted and shot the two Indian men because of their race, color and national origin.
Purinton shot and killed Srinivas Kuchibotla, 32, and wounded Alok Madasani, also 32, at Austin’s Bar & Grill in Olathe in February 2017. The two friends both worked as engineers at Garmin and were having drinks together. Purinton also shot and wounded a bystander, 24-year-old Ian Grillot, who tried to intervene.
According to prosecutors, Purinton had demanded to know where Kuchibhotla and Madasani were from and how they had entered the country. Purinton poked Kuchibhotla in the chest, called him a “terrorist” and a “sand nigger,” and shouted, “Get out of my country!”
Grillot told Purinton he needed to leave and escorted him out of the bar. Purinton then drove home, changed his shirt, wrapped a scarf around his face, retrieved a semi-automatic pistol and drove back to the restaurant's patio in his truck. There he fired at least eight shots at Kuchibhotla and Madasani. At least four struck Kuchibhotla and one struck Madasani.
None of the victims were in court on Tuesday, but Kuchibhotla’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, released a statement that prosecutors read in court:
“My husband was more than what you chose to address him as. Always kind, caring, and respectful to others. Srinu and I came to the United States of America full of dreams and aspirations ... Now, my American Dream — and that of Srinu’s — is broken.
“If you could have kept your anger inside and spoke to my husband softly, Srinu would have been more than happy to share his background and help you understand that not every brown skinned person is suspicious or evil, but kind, smart and contributing to America. Instead you chose to rage and bully in anger and when you were stopped, you decided to take their lives ... [U]se the time that is being given to you to educate yourself and inform others who are still out in the open and stop them from killing innocent people as you did – choosing violence over kindness.”
In a statement, Stephen McAllister, U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas, said:
“No matter who you are, what you believe, or how you worship, you should be able to live without fear of becoming a victim of hate crimes. We hope today's sentencing brings some closure for the victims and their families.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also released a statement, calling Purinton’s crimes “detestable.”
“The defendant acted with clear premeditation in murdering one man, and attempting to murder a second man, simply because of their race, religion, and national origin,” Sessions said. “As a result, a promising young life has been tragically cut short, and other lives have been filled with suffering. Securing this sentence is important not only to the victims and their loved ones, but also to our justice system and our nation as a whole.”
Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies