Police: Rape suspect, freed due to virus, kills accuser
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Police in Virginia say that a rape suspect released from jail in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic went on to kill the woman who had accused him.
The Washington Post reports that Ibrahim E. Bouaichi was tracked down by authorities on Wednesday. But he shot himself and was in grave condition on Thursday.
Bouaichi was indicted last year on charges that included rape, strangulation and abduction. He was jailed without bond in Alexandria.
The woman testified against him in Alexandria District Court in December.
When the pandemic hit, Bouaichi’s lawyers argued that he should be freed awaiting trial because the virus endangered both inmates and their attorneys. He was released on $25,000 bond over the objections of a prosecutor.
Circuit Court Judge Nolan Dawkins released Bouaichi on the condition that he only leave his Maryland home to meet with his lawyers or pretrial services officials.
Alexandria police say that Bouaichi, 33, fatally shot the woman in late July.
Authorities said that federal marshals and Alexandria police spotted and pursued Bouaichi in Prince George’s County on Wednesday. He crashed his vehicle and apparently shot himself, authorities said.
Judge Dawkins retired in June. He did not respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment. Judges are often prohibited from commenting on pending cases.
Bouaichi’s attorneys, Manuel Leiva and Frank Salvato, said in a statement that they were “certainly saddened by the tragedy both families have suffered here.” The lawyers said they “were looking forward to trial. Unfortunately the pandemic continued the trial date by several months and we didn’t get the chance to put forth our case.”
Police said the woman was a native of Venezuela and did not have family in this country. The Washington Post reported that very little information about her was available. The Associated Press does not identify persons who may have been sexually assaulted.