Former graduate student sentenced to life in prison in murder case

Rahul Gupta, a former GW graduate student, will serve a life sentence in jail for murdering his friend, a Georgetown law student, in 2013. Photo from the Montgomery County Police
Rahul Gupta, a former GW graduate student, will serve a life sentence in jail for murdering his friend, a Georgetown law student, in 2013. Photo from the Montgomery County Police

This post was written by assistant news editors Robin Eberhardt and Eva Palmer.

A Maryland judge sentenced a former graduate student to life in prison on Wednesday after he was found guilty of murdering his friend in 2013, WUSA 9 reported.

Rahul Gupta stabbed Georgetown University law student Mark Waugh to death in October 2013 and was found guilty of first-degree murder in Montgomery County court in March. The jury examined about 250 pieces of evidence, including photos and the cell phones of Gupta, Waugh and Gupta’s girlfriend, Taylor Gould.

Gupta, who also earned his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from GW, told police that he stabbed Waugh, a friend of Gupta’s since high school, because he believed Waugh and Gould were romantically involved with each other. Gupta stabbed Waugh in the chest, neck and back with a knife, puncturing one of Waugh’s lungs. Gupta also told police on the scene that Waugh had tried to kill him at the time.

Gupta’s lawyers argued that Gould, who also graduated from GW, killed Waugh, and that Gupta admitted to the crime to protect her. Gould said in court that she had blacked out after the three had gone out drinking to celebrate Gupta’s 24th birthday and woke up to find Gupta kneeling over Waugh and yelling at her to call 911.

The defense lawyers also tried to reduce Gupta’s charge to manslaughter in November 2013, claiming he killed Waugh in a fit of drunken rage after allegedly catching his friend and his girlfriend cheating. Prosecutors disagreed, and Gupta was charged with first-degree murder.

Waugh and Gupta had graduated together from Langley High School in northeastern Virginia. Waugh earned a bachelor’s degree in history from James Madison University and was in his first year of law school at Georgetown at the time of his death.

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