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Death Penalty Sought For Former HBCU Professor Charged With Murder


The death penalty will be sought against a former mathematics professor accused of sending contract killers to murder his 22-year-old daughter-in-law, Fulton County prosecutors said this week.

Prosecutors say Chiman L. Rai, a 67-year-old native of India, paid $10,000 to have four men kill his daughter-in-law. They say Rai disapproved of his son’s marriage to Sparkle Rai because she was Black.

In April of 2000, Sparkle Michelle Rai was found strangled and stabbed to death inside the Union City, Ga., apartment she shared with her husband, Rick Rai. Their 7-month-old daughter, Alana, was found unharmed inside the home. A tip to police in 2004 reopened the case, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Chiman Rai brought his family to Jackson, Miss. in 1970 and taught math at historically Black Alcorn State University. He left teaching after a decade to open a supermarket, and later moved to Louisville, Ky., where he opened a hotel.

Rai was ordered by Superior Court Judge Bensonetta Tipton Lane to remain jailed after prosecutors successfully argued he might try to leave the area or the country. The four alleged hit men are scheduled to appear at the Fulton County courthouse at the end of the month.

The four men charged along with Chiman Rai are Willie Fred Evans, 74; Herbert Green, 60; Cleveland Clark, 49; and Carl Clark, 43. The latter two were both serving time in a Mississippi prison for armed robbery when they were charged. Evans and Green are both of Louisville, Ky.

The men are charged with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary, possession of a firearm and knife during the commission of a felony and conspiracy to commit a crime.

According to news report, Rick Rai eventually married an Indian woman, but never told his new wife about the murder of Sparkle Rai or about Alana.

— Associated Press and Diverse Staff Reports


Reader comments on this story:

There are currently 6 reader comments on this story:

“a sad commentary on the world”
It is truly a sad commentary on the world when rascist hate crimes, even within familes, provide the superior evidence of the efficiencey of the white supremacist social construct of race and its divisive nature. The world has been fed an illusion and its/we’re killing us. The man needs to re-learn the “his” story of his culture from Dravidians, untouchables et. al., as such ignorance is pervasive-which leads to such an act as murder.

-Denise McGuire
Houston, TX

“a sad day…”
My heart really goes out to Sparkle’s family because of this unnecessary tragedy that has befallen this young woman simply because of the color of her skin. Despite the cruel intentions displayed by her father and the rather aged murderers he contracted for her death, the final outcome of the actions of Sparkle’s husband speak volumes to his concern with her/her death and ultimately his character. They say the apple does not fall too far from the tree, as demonstrated in the disdain of this woman AND their daughter.  While this country moves to ameliorate racial tension, attention needs to continue to be shed on these sorts of cases when hate crimes persist and especially those against Black women and children!!!!

    This is a sad day…

Lilburn, GA

“Where is the husband in this picture?”
Although no mention is made about the husband, until the end of the article, I wonder what are his impression of his father?  Also, where is Alana staying, if the new wife is not aware about his daughter?

-Araxi Hovhanessian
Tempe, AZ

“concerned about the child”
I was very touched by this story being a professional social worker, my concern is for the child Alana, Who has custody of the child? why did the father of the child decide not to tell the new wife. In a perfect world the father of the child would marry a women who would want to love and raise his child as his own, simply because she is human.

-J. Wheel

Nashville, TN

“a disgrace”
Did the OLD BLACK MEN (sound of their names- could be dead wrong!!!) get their money? I can only guess the money meant more to them than the SISTER that they murdered!!!!

   They are a disgrace to the Black race.   In light of it all, I hope that they will feel the guilt every day of their lives and it will torment them.


“talk about irony”
Given that Mr. Rai taught at a historically black college for an extended period, I would think that he would be more enlightened about race relations.  It is sad, indeed, that he was not able to look past the issue of race when it came to his son, who made his own life choices.  At issue is not only the slain daughter-in-law, but the life-long scars this tragic senseless killing leaves on her husband (the son) and their daughter.
-New York, NY

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