ASO turns to 'Red Notice' in UF slaying


Published: Sunday, July 1, 2007 at 10:55 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, July 1, 2007 at 10:55 a.m.

Local officers are relying on an international agreement among law enforcement agencies to locate an Indian man accused of killing a University of Florida graduate assistant three years ago.

Praveen Vedam, 29, was indicted for first-degree murder in the death of Sudheer Satti. The 24-year-old was found stabbed to death in his UF apartment at Maguire Village on Jan. 4, 2004.

Investigators believe Vedam is in India where they hope officers will place him in custody because of a pending “Red Notice.” The notice, loosely defined as an international arrest warrant, is issued by the International Criminal Police Organization or Interpol.

The notice was obtained last year, said Sgt. Keith Faulk, spokesman for the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, the agency responsible for serving the warrant.

Not all countries recognize the notice, but India is a country that does honor it, Faulk said.

If Vedam were stopped by officers and they run his name for pending warrants, the notice should alert them that he is wanted for murder in the United States.

“Supposedly he would be held and the U.S. Marshals Service would be notified through the consulate,” Faulk said.

While officers believe Vedam is their suspect, he has maintained his innocence and said he wants to come back to Florida to clear his name, according to his attorney, Robert Rush.

Rush, who has been in contact with Vedam, confirmed his client is living and working in India. But, Rush said, Vedam cannot afford to fly back to the United States.

“If his attorney wanted to help and Vedam really wanted to get this taken care of, he could turn himself in,” Faulk said.

Vedam was originally in custody in Gainesville soon after Satti's death. He was arrested on charges of murder and theft several weeks after Satti's body was found. A former roommate of Satti, Vedam denied he had committed the crime.

Officers found Satti's missing computer and computer case at Vedam's workplace. Vedam had said he had the computer not because he was linked to Satti's death but to protect a woman Vedam had been seeing romantically. Her name was contained in the computer. She later married but her communication with Vedam and Satti would have been frowned on in their culture, Rush said at the time.

The case against Vedam was dropped in late 2004 with a judge citing insufficient evidence.

Vedam, who like Satti, came from India, left Gainesville soon after the case against him was dismissed. But, in early 2005, prosecutors said they had more evidence against Vedam and obtained a new indictment for murder against him. Since then, the case has been in limbo pending Vedam's arrest.

The University of Florida Police Department, which handled the investigation, forwarded information about the case to the FBI for review.

“We are in line to be looked at,” UF Police Lt. Darren Baxley said last week. But the agency has not been given a time frame for when the FBI would inspect the case.

Lise Fisher can be reached at (352) 374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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