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A man acquitted by reason of insanity for a brutal stabbing death in Old Town has been ordered to stay off all social media except LinkedIn.

The news came Thursday afternoon, after 38-year-old Pankaj Bhasin was ordered by the Alexandria Circuit Court to stay off the websites after lying about himself and his whereabouts during a period that he was in prison for murder.

Bhasin was conditionally released from the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services in May — four years after stabbing 65-year-old Brad Jackson to death with a box cutter. Bhasin said that he thought Jackson was a werewolf, and stabbed him 53 times. He was conditionally released on May 27, 2022, after being diagnosed as bipolar by five doctors and found not guilty by reason of insanity in July 2019.

After his release, Bhasin opened a Facebook page where he listed that he was in India at the time of the murder, according to court records. He also created dating application profiles and wrote that he’d recently returned from traveling for two years.

“I’m an easy going adventurer who believes in a universal connection with all and love to explore n try new things,” Bhasin wrote on a dating app, according to the motion to amend the terms of his conditional release. “Also, recently getting back from two years of travel…”

Bhasin also wrote that he is interested in “travel, kayaking, dancing, photography, camping, reading, concert n all things fun,” and that he has an ENFP-A personality — someone who is extraverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving.

Bhasin’s attorney, Peter Greenspun, sent out a statement that Bhasin is “doing extremely well,” but did not discuss the decision of the court. He said that Bhasin is remorseful for Jackson’s death.

“Mr. Bhasin is not on any social media or dating sites,” Greenspun said. “He has and will continue to follow all of the directions of the City of Alexandria Circuit Court.”

A review hearing is scheduled for December to assess Bhasin’s release.

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Updated at 3 p.m. The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is hoping to limit access to the internet for a man acquitted for reason of insanity for a brutal stabbing death in Old Town.

Pankaj Bhasin, now 38, was conditionally released from the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services in May, nearly four years after killing 65-year-old Brad Jackson. Bhasin said that he thought Jackson — a complete stranger — was a werewolf, and used a box cutter to stab him 53 times. Bhasin was later diagnosed as bipolar by five doctors and was found not guilty by reason of insanity in July 2019. He was conditionally released in on May 27, 2022.

After his release, Bhasin opened a Facebook page where he listed that he was in India at the time of the murder, according to court records. He also created dating application profiles and wrote that he’d recently returned from traveling for two years.

“I’m an easy going adventurer who believes in a universal connection with all and love to explore n try new things,” Bhasin wrote on a dating app, according to the motion to amend the terms of his conditional release. “Also, recently getting back from two years of travel…”

Bhasin also wrote that he is interested in “travel, kayaking, dancing, photography, camping, reading, concert n all things fun,” and that he has an ENFP-A personality — someone who is extraverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving.

On Thursday (September 15), the Commonwealth’s Attorney will argue to amend Bhasin’s conditional release by either preventing him from using social media and online dating applications or installing software to allow the Community Services Board to monitor his activity.

“Given the violence involved in this case, our office is extremely concerned about the acquittee being in the community,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter told ALXnow. “We are trying to do everything wr can to ensure he is not in a position to commit further acts of violence.”

“Of particular concern, the acquittee appears to be actively engaged in deception regarding his recent history,” the Commonwealth said in its motion. “For example. he states that he has been ‘recently getting back from two years of travel and he appears to have created artificial check-ins to overseas locations, giving the impression that he was there during a period of time he was incarcerated and standing trial for murder.”

The motion continued, “In this case, because the acquittee may be meeting potential romantic partners while not only concealing, but actively lying about his recent history, those individuals may be put at risk during a period of time when the acquittee is first transitioning to the community. In light of the acquittee’s online conduct, public safety calls for modification of the terms of his release.”

Bhasin’s attorney, Peter Greenspun, said that Bhasin is “doing extremely well,” but did not discuss the Commonwealth’s motion to amend the conditions of his release.

“Mr. Bhasin has expressed his remorse for Mr. Jackson and those who knew him in every setting possible, including in his treatment,” Greenspun said in an email. “While those expressions may, understandably, not be enough for those who are suffering, it is sincere and constant, and has been an important part of his recovery.”

A review hearing is also scheduled for December to assess Bhasin’s release.

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Fredy Ortiz Dominguez, charged with involuntary manslaughter, photo courtesy Alexandria Sheriff’s Office

Maryland resident Fredy Ortiz Dominguez, 46, pleaded guilty to a felony count of involuntary manslaughter for the death of a pedestrian in Arlandria last November.

Dominquez was indicted in April in connection with the death of Roy Saravia Alvarez, a 46-year-old Alexandria resident killed after exiting a bus at the corner of Mount Vernon Avenue and West Glebe Road. Dominguez pleaded guilty in the Alexandria Circuit Court on July 28, according to a press release from the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

According to the release:

The investigation established that on the evening of November 13, 2021, Roy Saravia Alvarez exited a bus at the intersection of Mount Vernon Avenue and West Glebe Road in the City of Alexandria. He crossed West Glebe Road in the crosswalk. He completed crossing Glebe and began walking westbound on the sidewalk.

The defendant, Mr. Ortiz Dominguez, was the second car in line waiting to turn left from northbound Mount Vernon Avenue onto West Glebe Road. The car in front of the defendant completed the turn without incident, but the defendant took a wide turn and drove up onto the sidewalk, striking Mr. Saravia Alvarez from behind and pinning him underneath the vehicle.

For six minutes, the defendant pressed the gas pedal and rocked his work truck back and forth while the victim remained pinned underneath the vehicle. Onlookers attempted to get the defendant to stop, but he persisted in pressing the gas pedal until police arrived. Mr. Saravia Alvarez was freed from underneath the vehicle by the fire department within 10 minutes of arrival, but he had succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead on scene.

The release said that Dominguez was not under the effects of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash and Alvarez and Dominguez did not know each other before the crash.

“The cause for the collision remains undetermined,” the release said. “The sentencing hearing in the case will be held on September 15, 2022. The maximum penalty for Involuntary Manslaughter is ten years in the penitentiary. The defendant is incarcerated in the Alexandria Adult Detention Center awaiting sentencing.”

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Peter Laboy laughed as he talked about Kashif Bashir‘s sentencing.

It’s been nine years since Bashir shot Laboy, a former Alexandria Police officer, in the head in 2013. Bashir was later found not guilty by reason of insanity, and was conditionally released from prison in 2018. He was arrested the following year for setting the homes of his mental health providers on fire.

“Yeah, I feel justified,” Laboy told ALXnow. “It’s justice for me and all of his victims, all the social workers that tried to help him.”

On Thursday (July 21), Bashir was sentenced to life in prison plus 11 years for setting two houses on fire, setting a car on fire and illegally buying a handgun and silencer in 2019. Bashir pleaded guilty in January — on Laboy’s birthday.

“The victims were all women, and when they rejected him that’s when he set two houses on fire, bought a gun and started doing research on me, on where I lived,” Laboy said.

Bashir, a former taxi driver from Woodbridge, was stalking a woman when he shot Laboy on Feb. 27, 2013.

Bashir was sentenced by Prince William County Circuit Court Judge Carroll Weimer, Jr. — a former Alexandria Police officer. Weimer said that Bashir could not be rehabilitated, according to WTOP.

Bashir was sentenced to life or the arson charges, 10 years for being an insane person carrying a firearm and a year for lying on paperwork to buy a firearm. He was also fined $100 for having a tracking device.

Laboy was in the courtroom when Bashir was sentenced.

“Oh yeah, I was happy as hell,” Laboy said. “He’s never getting out of jail now.”

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Alexandria Police lights (Staff photo by James Cullum)

A 32-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond after allegedly selling narcotics from various hotel rooms in Northern Virginia.

The series of events leading to the suspect’s arrest begins on February 20, 2022.

On that date, Alexandria Police were called to an apartment in the 5700 block of Dow Avenue for a 35-year-old man who was not breathing. The man’s 13-year-old son made the call, and led police to the bedroom, where they were unable to resuscitate him, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Police also questioned a person who was asleep in the bedroom with the man, and in the adjoining bathroom found a small plastic bag with “white powder inside, a spoon with baked white powder residue and a lighter,” according to the search warrant affidavit. The person told police that they bought the schedule I/II narcotics from the suspect and brought the drugs back to the apartment.

APD then discovered that the suspect’s fiancé died of a drug-related overdose on March 23, 2021, in Arlington County.

“During the investigation, (the suspect) admitted to obtaining the narcotics from an individual in Prince George’s County and sharing them with his fiancé before her overdose,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

Police conducted a sting operation in March in Fairfax County, and the suspect drove to the meet in a rental car and sold an unspecified amount of fentanyl to a police informant. The suspect’s rental car was found in the parking lot of a Motel Six in Dumphries on March 23, and then at a Days Inn on South Bragg Street in Alexandria on March 29.

On March 30, APD conducted a search of the suspect’s hotel room in Alexandria and found:

  • Multiple baggies of cocaine
  • Multiple baggies of suspected fentanyl
  • $529 in cash
  • A vise press with suspected narcotics
  • Multiple digital scales
  • Packaging and cutting materials
  • Suspected MDMA pills
  • Multiple cell phones

The suspect was arrested on March 30, charged with posession with intent to distribute schedule I/II narcotics (a felony) and then released on bond in May.

On June 14, the suspect met with his pretrial officer at the Alexandria jail, and was afterward seen getting into a vehicle with two other people and driving away. The suspect, who has a suspended driver’s license, was pulled over by police after parking for a long period in a nearby convenience store parking garage. Inside of the suspect’s vehicle, police found multiple baggies of a white powdery substance hidden in the roof lining, and then another plastic baggie with white powder in the  pocket of the back passenger seat, according to the search warrant affidavit.

In the backseat, the passenger told police that he’d met the suspect five days before, and that he had a drug problem and was trying to buy narcotics from the suspect, police said in the search warrant affidavit. Neither of the passengers were arrested, and the suspect said that the only items in the car that belonged to him were a bank card and his clothes, that he’d just left a pretrial meeting at the jail and was “going to sign up for treatment at a Fairfax substance abuse clinic shortly,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

“When advised that members of the Vice/Narcotics Unit had observed him use narcotics inside a parking garage and found discarded drug paraphernalia and his pretrial officer’s business card near the parking spot the vehicle had occupied, (the suspect) advised he didn’t realiz we had been watching him for such a long period of time,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

The suspect has been held without bond since the June 14 incident, although that case was dismissed for want of admissible evidence.

On July 13, the suspect’s March 30 arrest was certified to the grand jury as a felony possession with intent to distribute charge. He faces indictment in August, and between five and 40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

In May, Alexandria warned of a spike in fentanyl-related opioid overdoses. There were 30 opioid overdoses in the first five months of 2022, with two confirmed fentanyl overdoses.

According to the City:

For life-threatening situations, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you have information regarding the illegal sale of opioids or other drugs, please call the Alexandria Police Department at 703.746.6277.

If you or someone you care about needs help, please call 703.746.3400 to speak with staff at the Department of Community and Human Services. Treatment for opioid use can be accessed by calling the City’s Opioid Treatment Program intake line at 703.746.3610 and detox services can be accessed by calling 703.746.3636. Additional treatment options can be found at samhsa.gov or by calling 800.662.HELP (4357).

The City also encourages residents to dispose of expired or unneeded medications.  Several medication disposal boxes are located throughout the City.

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A 21-year-old Alexandria man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the Sept. 30, 2020, murder of John Pope in the West End.

On June 30, Tavon Marquis Lanier was sentenced to 73 years in prison — with all but 20 years suspended — for his convictions of second-degree murder, two counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony, grand larceny and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

When released from prison, Lanier will be on supervised probation for 10 years.

Pope was shot to death on Sept. 30 at his home in the 5900 block of Quantrell Avenue in the Mayflower Square apartment complex. He later died at the hospital. It was the second murder (of three) that occurred in Alexandria in 2020.

“The investigation showed that on September 30, 2020, Lanier shot and killed John Pope in his apartment located on Quantrell Avenue while attempting to steal prescription drugs lawfully prescribed to Pope,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said in a release. “After the shooting, Lanier took the prescription drugs and made good his escape.”

Lanier was released on bond just eight days before Pope was killed. He was arrested on Sept. 22 for for allegedly breaking into his girlfriend’s apartment, stalking and threatening her and was released on bond by the magistrate’s office.

Lanier is held at the Alexandria Adult Detention Center and will be transferred to the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Photo via Facebook

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More than a dozen anti-abortion activists were individually led out of Alexandria’s City Council Chambers on Tuesday night (June 28), as Council unanimously approved a resolution to protect access to abortions in the city.

Members of the California-based group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust sat in Council Chambers holding signs depicting graphic photos and drawings of aborted fetuses. The group spent the last several days demonstrating outside the U.S. Supreme Court leading up to last week’s overturning of Roe v. Wadebanning abortion in more than a dozen states.

Mayor Justin Wilson told the audience repeatedly to quiet down or he’d clear the chamber, and asked police to remove more than a dozen protestors, including A.J. Hurley, national director of the group.

“Bodily autonomy is a basic human right,” Wilson said. “I’m not really fond of resolutions that, you know, take stands on issues that we don’t have a lot of impact on, and this is not one of those. I think the reason this resolution is before us is because it has specific actions that are very much in our purview.”

Hurley is from Los Angeles, California. He said that the mission of the organization is to seek a federal ban on abortion, and doesn’t believe he will see that happen in his lifetime. Hurley was eventually escorted from Council Chambers by police after an outburst. Members of the group also shouted on megaphones and banged on plastic buckets outside City Hall.

“If this city council is going to produce edicts and statements and resolutions moving towards ordinances, they should know the faces of the children that they affect,” Hurley said.

The resolution states that “it is not possible to ban abortion, but only to ban safe and legal abortions,” and asks that the City Manager consider budgetary proposals for the FY 2024 budget to “ensure accessibility of reproductive health services, safe abortion services, accessible maternal and child health services for low-income Alexandria residents.”

The resolution also calls on the City Attorney to join ongoing or future lawsuits “to protect the availability of abortion services in Alexandria,” as well as land use protections for providers.

When told by a protestor that she doesn’t understand the issue because she hasn’t had an abortion, Vice Mayor Amy Jackson asked, “How do you know I haven’t?”

“When we’re talking about personal freedom and women’s health care, it should be the women’s choice, not men,” Jackson said.

Council Member Kirk McPike drafted the resolution. McPike previously expressed regret about City Council withdrawing an earlier proclamation of support.

“Fortunately right now we are in Virginia, and in Virginia abortion remains legal,” McPike said. “There’s nothing we can do from this dais or as City Council to override state law. If that changes, we will not be able to limit that. What we can do is work within the powers that we have as a city body, to ask our city manager in our city attorney to take on active roles in helping us protect this right to reproductive choice here in our city, whether that’s through revising our planning and zoning rules, whether that’s by joining lawsuits, whether that’s by putting language in our legislative packets. “

Council Member Alyia Gaskins, who noted in the meeting that she is pregnant, said that the Supreme Court ruling is an attack on the rights of women and families.

“We must be relentless in protecting the health and wellbeing of our people and the citizens we serve,” Gaskins said.

Council Member Sarah Bagley directly addressed the anti-abortion activists holding signs.

“I look at these photos, I see you pointing at them,” Bagley said. “What I don’t see is the woman whose life was saved because the ectopic pregnancy would have killed her. What I don’t see with these photos is a woman who desperately wanted a child but was told that (with) these fetal abnormalities would never have survived.”

Many residents also sat in Council Chambers holding signs thanking Alexandria for its pro-abortion efforts, including Sandy Marks, chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee.

“Our council is entirely unshaken,” Marks said. “There have been a few interruptions, business is moving smoothly. They’re attempting to make noise outside, but our good governance is not going to be disrupted by a small number of out of town visitors that are here to try to obstruct a meeting that is going very smoothly.”

Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker (D-45) also sat in the audience.

“I’m here because I believe everyone should be able to access safe abortions,” Bennett-Parker said. “I’m here today to support City Council and this resolution to protect abortion access in Alexandria and Virginia. I’m here because people should be able to make decisions about their own body, their own future and their own lives.”

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A 44-year-old Fairfax County man was arrested on June 22 and faces multiple charges for a February 22 crash on Duke Street that resulted in the death of a driver and injuries to other drivers.

Carlos Kami Adar McKethan was arrested subsequent to a direct Grand Jury indictment charging him with aggravated vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of Phencyclidine (PCP), according to the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter.

“It is alleged the defendant was the driver of a vehicle which struck another vehicle,” Porter’s office said in a release. “As a result of the collision, the driver of the struck vehicle was killed.”

McKethan is being held without bail in the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center awaiting trial. No trial date has been set.

Five vehicles were involved in the crash, which occurred at around at around 11:50 p.m. in the 3200 block of Duke Street. Three people were trapped in two different vehicles after the crash.

“The crash resulted in one fatality, one critical injury, one serious injury, and two minor injuries,” Alexandria Police said in a release. “Preliminary investigation suggests speed may have been a contributing factor in this incident.”

Vehicular manslaughter is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in jail, and driving under the influence of PCP is punishable by up to a year in jail.

Map via Google Maps

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Supreme Court (file photo)

The Alexandria City Council will vote on a resolution Tuesday night to protect access to abortions in the city.

The resolution, which was initially drafted by Councilman Kirk McPike, lays out several steps that the city will take.

“We call upon the General Assembly of Virginia and the United States Congress to take such actions as may be necessary to protect the right to abortion in Virginia,” the resolutions states. “We ask that the City Manager consider budgetary proposals for the FY 2024 budget to ensure accessibility of reproductive health services, safe abortion services, accessible maternal and child health services for low-income Alexandria residents.”

The resolution also calls on the City Attorney to join on-going or future lawsuits “to protect the availability of abortion services in Alexandria,” as well as land use protections for providers.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wadebanning abortion in 14 states and setting the stage for future legal challenges countrywide. Here in Virginia, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that he wants to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The Alexandria Democratic Committee praised the resolution.

“The Alexandria Democratic Committee stands in solidarity with City Council as they present their resolution in response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade,” ADC said on Facebook. “Our public support of bold statements like these is crucial.”

Many of Alexandria’s elected officials expressed shock and dismay at the ruling.

Del. Charniele Herring, the Democratic Caucus Chair, tweeted that she was horrified and that she would continue to fight to keep abortion legal in Virginia.

The full resolution is below the jump. Read More

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A 28-year-old Alexandria man blamed the effects of being on Ambien on a crash that damaged an apartment building in the city’s Arlandria neighborhood.

The incident occurred on Friday, June 10, at around 4:30 p.m. in the 3800 block of Russell Road — directly across from St. Rita’s Catholic Church. A witness called police to report that a blue Ford Focus hopped the curb and smashed into the steps and rail of the entrance to the “Andrew Jackson” building of the Presidential Greens Apartments, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The witness told police that, after the crash, the driver got out of the car, and picked up pieces of his car and put them in his trunk.

“The vehicle sustained extensive damage to its front, including bumper, under guard, right headlight, possibly radiator that left a large spill on the walking path near the steps,” police said in a search warrant affidavit. “The subject then returned to the vehicle, although with a struggle, turned around and drove out of the courtyard side — swiping a parked Mini Cooper.”

The witness pointed the driver out to police.

The driver told police that he’d just gone to McDonald’s to buy cigars, and then corrected himself by saying he went to get sandwiches, according to the search warrant affidavit. He also said that he took Ambien before driving.

“(The suspect) stated that he was using Ambien occasionally without prescription because it was helping hi to go to sleep,” police said in the search warrant affidavit. “(The suspect) was aware of Ambien side effects. (The suspect) admitted to ‘possibly hitting something’ before parking.”

The driver, who was released on $500 unsecured bond that same day, was charged with hit-and-run property destruction, driving an uninsured vehicle, driving while intoxicated (first offense) and failing to stop at the scene of an accident. He goes to court for the offenses on July 1.

Via Google Maps

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