justice for kapali swamy

Got some info recently passed along to me about the death of 27-year-old Kapali Swamy. Kapali was killed in Cullman, Alabama on November 18, when he was punched twice in the face by Christopher Brett Pennington—a guy he was actually giving a ride home that night. Somehow, in January, a grand jury inexplicably decided—in a closed hearing—not to indict Pennington on a single charge. And now friends and family, who are alleging incompetence or bias in this process, are searching for any kind of justice for Kapali. Here are some key facts about the case:
The details of the events leading to the crime are as follows. Three individuals (all names have been released to the public)—Kapali Swamy, Gina Gonzalez, and Christopher Brett Pennington were driving to Pennington's residence shortly after 6am on 11/18; Kapali was kindly giving Pennington a ride home from a night out in Birmingham. Apparently, during the drive and after stopping the car, Kapali and Gina became involved in a heated verbal argument. Once they exited the car the argument continued, at which time Pennington approached Kapali. Words were exchanged, and then Pennington escalated a verbal confrontation to a physical one by punching Kapali—apparently twice. Kapali fell to the ground and was found to be pulseless and without any signs of life when emergency medical personnel arrived a few minutes later. Pennington's right fist was bruised, but his body was without any other signs of an altercation. Gina and a third party witness both assert that Kapali did not touch either Pennington or Gina.

The key evidence supporting the crime is as follows:
1) The alleged perpetrator fully confessed to punching Kapali in his statement to police.
2) Two independent eye-witnesses gave consistent descriptions of the events surrounding his death, directly implicating Pennington as the responsible party.
3) These witnesses confirmed that Kapali did not initiate any physical conflict.
4) The autopsy confirmed the cause of Kapali's death as massive brain hemorrhage and brainstem herniation, the direct result of "homicide."

Despite the concrete, compelling evidence that a crime was committed, a Cullman, Alabama grand jury, in January 2008, inexplicably decided — in a closed hearing — not to indict Pennington on a single charge. And so a killer walks free.

The grand jury determined that there was insufficient evidence to move forward and the case was dismissed.

Based on the Grand Jury's decision, we can only conclude that this appalling injustice was likely the result of either complete incompetence on the part of the local legal system, or, more concerning, a crude and malicious bigotry that devalued Kapali Swamy's life because he was not white and not local, and hence not worthy of being defended by the law.
Read more about the situation here. This is ridiculous. It's worth noting the Cullman, Alabama is very small, racially homogenous community. The population is nearly all-white, and the region apparently sees frequent KKK activity. Excuse me if I'm a little skeptical about the jury's decision, given the circumstances of Kapali's murder. His friends have started an online petition calling for the Alabama State Attorney General's Office or the Federal Government should mount an investigation into the prosecution of Kapali's case: Justice for Kapali Swamy: A Call to fight Bias and Racism in the Justice System

angry archive