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Indian Motelier Gets Life For Murder Of Son's Black Wife

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An Indian motel owner Chiman Rai was sentenced to life in prison for hiring a hit man to murder his African American daughter-in-law because her marriage to his son cast a stigma on the family.

Sparkle Michelle Rai, 22, a clerk at the motel, was murdered in April 2000, a month after she married Rai's 18-year-old son, Rajeeve "Ricky" Rai.

Prosecutors said that Sparkle was murdered in the newlywed's apartment by a 300-pound ex-con hit man, who stabbed her 13 times in the back, neck, chest and ribs, before strangling her and slitting her throat, in front of her baby daughter. Her body was found by her husband when he returned home from work and called police.

The murder remained unsolved until two years ago, when a women who accompanied the hit man to Sparkle Rai's house confessed to police after being arrested on a drug charge by Atlanta Police.

Asserting that the murder was "outrageous, wantonly vile," prosecutors sought the death penalty. Rai's attorney sought a reprieve for his client, pleading, "He did it out of some perverted belief that it was in the best interest of his son." 

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Odds & Ends | Magazine | July 2008

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