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Suspect in Laken Riley’s Killing Indicted on Murder and Other Charges

USSuspect in Laken Riley’s Killing Indicted on Murder and Other Charges


A grand jury in Georgia has indicted a man on charges including malice murder and aggravated assault in connection with the killing of Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student whose death in February became a flashpoint in the partisan fight over immigration and crime.

The killing on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens rattled the community there, but the case drew national interest after investigators zeroed in on the man, Jose Antonio Ibarra, a 26-year-old Venezuelan who entered the United States illegally and had previous minor, nonviolent offenses.

The 10-count indictment, which was handed up on Tuesday, lays out details of what prosecutors describe as a harrowing attack perpetrated by Mr. Ibarra, portraying him as a predator prowling the campus on Feb. 22.

That day, he had peeped through the windows of a different person, who lived in campus housing, prosecutors said. Then, when he encountered Ms. Riley on a wooded trail about a mile from her apartment, he blocked her as she tried to call 911 for help and then pulled up her clothes with the intent to rape her, prosecutors said. He asphyxiated her and beat her over the head multiple times with a rock, “seriously disfiguring” her, according to the indictment.

The indictment included charges of malice and felony murder, aggravated assault and battery, kidnapping, interfering with a call for emergency help, and tampering with evidence, for trying to hide a jacket and gloves from the police. Mr. Ibarra was also charged with a single “peeping Tom” count; according to the indictment, Mr. Ibarra “did peep through the window and spied upon and invaded the privacy” of someone living in a university apartment.

Mr. Ibarra, who was arrested on Feb. 23, has yet to enter a plea in connection with the case, but in March, his lawyers requested a jury trial. He has been held in jail without bail. Mr. Ibarra’s lawyers did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on Wednesday.



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