SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — A Texas man pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection to kidnapping and stalking his then-wife, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Department of Justice.
Sunil K. Akula, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping, one count of stalking, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of witness tampering, the statement said.
On August 6, 2019, he traveled from his home in Texas to Agawam, Massachusetts to confront his then-wife. The two were living apart.
A couple of days later, he physically assaulted her and forced her to leave her apartment and get into a car with him, stating that he was taking her back to Texas, according to the statement.
He then drove her south through many states during which he assaulted her again and forced her to quit her job through an email to her employer. He then smashed her laptop and threw it on the side of the highway, according to the statement.
Akula stopped in Knox County, Tennessee where he again beat his wife. He couldn’t calm her down and keep her quiet while she was crying loudly, he opened the door to leave the hotel room and was arrested by local law enforcement, according to the statement.
While he was held before his trial, he called family in India telling them to contact his wife’s father so he could convince her to withdraw her statements and not to testify against him, and either not go to court or have the charges against him dropped, according to the statement.
- a kidnapping provides for a sentence of up to life prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
- stalking provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
- obstruction of justice provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
- witness tampering provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Akula was arrested and charged in September 2019 and is scheduled for sentencing on March 5, 2021.
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