BOSTON (WWLP) – A Texas man on Tuesday admitted to kidnapping and stalking his estranged wife back in 2019, and attempting multiple times to prevent her from testifying in federal court.
According to the Office of U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, 32-year-old Sunil K. Akula pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping, one count of stalking, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of witness tampering.
A sentencing date has been scheduled for March 5, 2021.
Texas man accused of stalking, kidnapping wife from Agawam home arraigned in federal court
Akula was initially arrested and charged in September 2019, after authorities learned he traveled from his home in Texas to Agawam on August 6, 2019, to confront his then-wife while they were living apart.
Several days later, Akula is said to have physically assaulted his estranged wife before forcing her to leave her apartment and get into a car with him with intentions to take her back to Texas.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Akula then drove his wife south through many states, during which he assaulted her again, forced her to send a resignation email to her employer, smashed her laptop and threw it on the side of the highway.
They stopped at a hotel in Knox County, Tennessee, where authorities say he beat his wife again. When he could not keep her quiet from crying loudly, he opened the door to leave the hotel room.
That was when he was arrested by Knox County Police officers.
While Akula was held before trial, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said he made phone calls to family in India instructing them to contact his wife’s father so he would convince her to withdraw her statements to police and not to testify, not go to court or to have the charges against him dropped.
Akula could spend up to life in prison for the kidnapping charge, five years of supervised release, and pay a fine of up to $250,000. The other charges he faces provides a combined sentence of at least 30 years in prison, up to nine years of supervised release, and a fine of more than $250,000.