Rai , 69 was sentenced life in prison
Chiman Rai, 69 gets life for contract killing of son's wife, because
she was black
ATLANTA, June 27, 2008
On Friday, NRI professor Chiman Rai , 69 was sentenced
life in prison by a Fulton County jury. He has been found guilty
of hiring hitmen to murder his black daughter-in-law Sparkle Michelle
Rai, 22, a month after she married to his son, Rajeeve "Ricky"
Rai. He opposed their inter-racial marriage.
Michelle Rai was murdered on April 26, 2000 in her Union City
apartment while her 7-month-old daughter cried in another room.
The case went unsolved until 2006.
The police arrested Clinique Jackson in unrelated
charges and told the police that she and a friend watched Cleveland
Clark, 50, strangle Sparkle and then stab her. After investigation:
- Willie Fred Green, 60 and Herbert Evans,76, told police that
they had hired Clark on behalf of Chiman Rai
- Green said Rai paid $10,000 to kill his daughter-in-law Sparkle
Michelle Rai as soon as posible. They met him at Chiman Rai's
grocery store near their neighbrhood..
- Chiman Rai had complained that his son had stolen tens of
thousands of dollars from family businesses and was involved
- Clinique Jackson as a witness to the murder case, said, before
stabbing Sparkle Rai, Clark asked her "Where are the drugs?"
The prosecutors said:
- Chiman Rai couldn't stomach having Sparkle Rai as a daughter-in-law
because she was black.
- Chiman Rai believed that she brought shame to his family because
she was black.
- He wanted it done because an interracial marriage would stain
the family's name in caste-conscious Indian society.
- Willie Fred Green contended that he got the $10,000 from Rai's
personal banker at an AmSouth branch in Jackson
- Jurors were told that they didn't rely on Evans or Green or
Jackson â€” who testified that Clark called Evans
immediately after the killing to tell him "the job was done"
and he was coming home for his money.
- Chiman Rai's own words, recorded by Green for investigators:
- You were the one handling all that," Rai said on the
tape after Herbert Green alluded to sending a hit man to Atlanta
on Rai's behalf. "I know nothing about that. There is
nothing on me."
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty.
Defense lawyer, Don Samuel said:
- This was not a crime motivated by greed and while I know the
prosecution disagrees with me, this was not a hate crime.
- Rai may have hired a hit man, he didn't order such a brutal
- It is not necessary for you (jury) to kill Chiman Rai. He
wasn't a racist and had strong support in the African-American
community in Jackson, Miss., where he had run a grocery and
Sparkle Michelle Rai's father Bennet Reid said:
- He never suspected her in-laws involve and he had no idea
why she had been killed
- He thought the case would never be solved but his daughter
finally got her voice.
Sparkle's child Analla is being raised by Donna Lowry stepmother
and Sparkle's father, Bennet Reid.
In 1970, Chiman Rai immigrated to US with his family from India.
He was a Math professor at Alcorn State University, Mississippi
for ten years and later opened a supermarket and a hotel in Kentucky.
Sparkle Michelle was an employee in this hotel when she met his
NRI professor Chiman Rai , 69 was sentenced life in prison