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Texas man sentenced for stalking, kidnapping, obstruction of justice and witness tampering

BOSTON – A Texas man was sentenced on Friday, May 14, 2021 in connection with kidnapping and stalking his then wife, and his subsequent efforts to prevent her testimony in federal court.

Sunil K. Akula, 32, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to 56 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Akula will be subject to deportation to India upon completion of his sentence. In November 2020, Akula pleaded guilty to kidnapping, stalking, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

On Aug. 6, 2019, Akula traveled from his home in Texas to Agawam, Mass. to confront his then wife, from whom he was living apart. Akular subsequently assaulted his wife and forced her to leave her apartment and get into a car with him, stating that he was taking her back to Texas.

Akula then drove his wife through multiple states, during which time he again assaulted her, forced her to send a resignation e-mail to her employer, and smashed her laptop and threw it on the side of the highway. Akula stopped at a Knox County, Tenn. hotel, where he again beat his wife. Akula later opened the door to leave the hotel room and was arrested by local law enforcement officers.

While Akula was held in custody, he made phone calls to family in India instructing them to contact his wife’s father to convince her to withdraw her statements to law enforcement.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Chicopee Interim Police Chief Lonny Dakin; Agawam Police Chief Eric Gillis; Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler; and Plano (Texas) Police Chief Ed Drain made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deepika Bains Shukla, Chief of Mendell’s Springfield Branch Office, and Catherine G. Curley of Mendell’s Springfield Branch Office prosecuted the case.