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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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Two people were killed in the 200 block of Century Drive on Saturday, July 16 (staff photo by James Cullum)

After being arrested for suspected burglary, Francis Deonte Rose, 27, has officially been charged in connection with last month’s double homicide at a West End apartment complex.

Rose is charged with the murders of Adrian Dejesus Rivera Guzman and Juan Carlos Anaya Hernandez on Saturday, July 16, in the Assembly Alexandria apartment complex on the 100 block of Century Drive.

“Mr. Rose is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of firearm use in commission of a felony,” the City of Alexandria said in a release. “Mr. Rose was arrested on the day of the incident and continues to be held at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria.”

The victims were reportedly innocent bystanders of a botched robbery.

Rose was released from jail in Arlington earlier this year and allegedly broke into the same apartment complex three weeks before the murder.

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Two people were killed in the 200 block of Century Drive on Saturday, July 16, 2022. (staff photo by James Cullum)

The big news in Alexandria this week was a double homicide in the West End and the news later that the suspect had been released from jail in Arlington earlier this year.

Former Mayor Kerry Donley also died of a heart attack last week with funeral services scheduled for this Sunday, July 24.

On the brighter side: a special use permit filed with the city earlier this week revealed that Andy’s Pizza is planning on making its way into Old Town at the former Meggrolls spot (107 North Fayette Street).

Top Stories

  1. BREAKING: Botched burglary leads to double murder in West End
  2. Alexandria man charged for allegedly selling fentanyl from hotel rooms
  3. Alexandria double murder suspect was released from jail in Arlington earlier this year
  4. West End murder suspect charged with burglary, both shooting victims innocent bystanders
  5. Funeral arrangements for former Mayor Kerry Donley announced
  6. Acclaimed local pizza chain Andy’s Pizza coming to Old Town
  7. All-affordable housing development in Fairlington to open this fall
  8. Bonaventure breaks ground on senior apartment complex near Braddock Metro
  9. City of Alexandria awarded $10M for two transportation projects
  10. Sidewalk sale returning to Old Town next month
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Two people were killed in the 200 block of Century Drive on Saturday, July 16 (staff photo by James Cullum)

(Updated at 4:30 p.m. on 7/20/22) The man arrested after the fatal shooting of two construction workers in Alexandria over the weekend was set to be tried for weapons and drug charges in Arlington earlier this year, but charges were dropped.

The reason: a ruling that police conducted an unconstitutional search prior to a 2020 arrest.

Francis Deonte Rose, 27, has so far only been charged with burglary in connection to an incident earlier Saturday morning at an Alexandria apartment complex, but additional charges are expected.

Police say two workers, ages 48 and 24, were shot in the head and were “innocent bystanders to the whole situation.” Officers had been called to the Assembly Alexandria apartment complex around 7:30 a.m. Saturday for reports of someone kicking in the doors at “multiple” apartments, our sister site ALXnow reported Monday.

Alexandria police radio traffic at the time suggested that the burglary suspect was the ex-boyfriend of an apartment resident and known to carry a gun.

Rose, meanwhile, has a history of gun charges. In 2019, a then-24-year-old Rose was arrested by Metropolitan Police in D.C. and charges with Carrying a Pistol without a License, Bench Warrant, Possession of Unregistered Ammunition, and Possession of an Unregistered Firearm.

The .45 caliber handgun he was allegedly carrying in the Columbia Heights neighborhood was confiscated, according to an MPD press release.

In October 2020, Rose was arrested again, this time in Arlington.

Francis Rose’s mugshot in Arlington in 2020. (Via Arlington)

From Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage, provided to ARLnow:

At approximately 10:23 p.m. on October 17, 2020, officers conducted a traffic stop in the 2300 block of Richmond Highway for a suspended operator’s license. During the course of the investigation, the passenger was found to be in possession of narcotics and a loaded handgun and ammunition were located in a bag alleged to belong to the passenger. Francis Rose, 25, of Washington D.C. was arrested and charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substance (x2), Possession of a Firearm while in Possession of a Controlled Substance (x2), Possession of a Firearm as a Convicted Felon, Possession of Ammunition as a Convicted Felon and Carrying a Concealed Weapon.

Rose was charged with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute cocaine and fentanyl, according to court documents, as well as possession of a gun and ammunition by someone convicted of a felony within the past 10 years.

The charges against Francis Rose, which were then droppedA grand jury indicted Rose in September 2021, and he was set for a jury trial this past February when defense attorneys made a motion to suppress evidence in the case.

That motion was granted by Arlington Circuit Court Chief Judge William Newman, according to court records, and charges were then dropped for a lack of evidence. Rose was later freed.

In all, he was in the county jail from Oct. 18, 2020 until Feb. 23, 2022, according to the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.

Reached via email by ARLnow, Arlington and Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti said the case was made impossible to prosecute after the judge’s ruling.

“As court records show, our office attempted to proceed on those charges, but during a suppression hearing, a judge ruled that the police had performed an unconstitutional search and, as the law required, suppressed the evidence in the case,” the county’s top prosecutor said. “Obviously, we could not prove a case without the evidence, and therefore dismissed it.”

“My heart breaks for the families and loved ones of the people killed this weekend,” Dehghani-Tafti said.

Asked about the case, an Arlington police spokeswoman said “ACPD does not opine on decisions made by the court.”

The defense motion to suppress the evidence, obtained by ARLnow from the circuit court after the initial publication of this article, argues that both the drugs and the guns should be excluded from any jury trial. It says that officers found the gun in a bag that Rose was wearing but ordered by officers to leave in the car. The bag was then searched and the gun found, followed by the discovery of “a small quantity” of drugs, the motion says.

The motion argues that police had “no authority to order Mr. Rose to leave his cross-body bag in the vehicle” and that the search was predicated on a smell of marijuana that was coming from the car — which was driven by a female companion — but not from Rose himself.

Judge Newman granted the motion.

Final court order in the Francis Rose case earlier this year (via Arlington County Circuit Court)

The defense attorney listed for Rose could not be reached by phone. Her firm’s website notes that challenging police searches is one of the ways it works for clients.

“As a legal term, guilty refers to the legal standard that requires the government to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt,” says the website. “Often, the government cannot meet this burden due to procedural hurdles, the passage of time, and missteps by law enforcement — even if you actually committed the offense. Furthermore, if the police violate your constitutional rights to obtain evidence of guilt, then knowing how to exclude that evidence is critical.”

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Morning Notes

Boats at the Old Town Waterfront (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Alexandria Man Killed in D.C. — “A 22-year-old man from Alexandria was shot and killed over the weekend in Washington DC, authorities said. Keonte Broadus-Gallman was found around 9 p.m. in the 1900 block of Anacostia Drive after authorities received a report of an unconscious person, the Metropolitan Police Department reported.” [Daily Voice]

Alexandria Recognized by State Planning Association — “The City of Alexandria is the winner of two prestigious awards. Today the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association’s (APA Virginia) recognized the Department of Planning and Zoning with the Commonwealth Plan of the Year Award for its Arlandria-Chirilagua Small Area Plan and the Red Clay Development of the Year Award for its Landmark Mall Redevelopment Plan.” [Zebra]

Carpenter’s Shelter Finalist for Award — “AHDC is honored to share that The Bloom and Carpenter’s Shelter has been selected as a Terwilliger Center finalist for Innovation in Attainable Housing:” [Twitter, ULI]

It’s Tuesday — Humid and mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 87 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:00 am and sunset at 8:32 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The two men shot to death Saturday morning (July 16) were innocent bystanders of a botched burglary, and a suspect is being held without bond in the Alexandria jail.

The victims — identified as construction workers Adrian Dejesus Rivera Guzman, 48, and 24-year-old Juan Carlos Anaya Hernandez — were both shot in the head. The shooting and burglary incidents occurred at the Assembly Alexandria apartment complex in the 100-to-200 blocks of Century Drive.

Francis Deonte Rose, 27, no fixed address, was arrested and charged with statutory burglary, destruction of property. Additional charges are pending, police said.

“The victims were innocent bystanders to the whole situation,” Alexandria Police spokesman Marcel Bassett told ALXnow. “While we’re keeping an open mind currently, we believe that there’s no threat to the public, and that we have suspects in this incident accounted for.”

Police were called at 7:28 a.m. for a report of a burglary at 150 Century Drive, followed by a call for shots fired at 8:53 a.m. and then another burglary call at 9:10 a.m.

The first caller told police that their door was kicked in by the suspect, and Rose is suspected of breaking into “multiple” apartments, police said.

The incidents are the fifth and sixth homicides in Alexandria this year.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Detective Stephen Riley at 703-746-6225. Callers can remain anonymous.

Below is a recording of Alexandria police radio traffic during the July 16 incident.

Map via Google Maps

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Updated at 1:40 p.m. Two people were shot to death in a burglary gone wrong in the West End on Saturday morning (July 16).

One person of interest is in custody, and police continue to investigate multiple crime scenes at an apartment complex in Century Drive.

The identities of the victims have not been released.

The shooting and burglary incidents occurred at the Assembly of Alexandria apartment complex in the 100-to-200 blocks of Century Drive. The identities of the victims and their relationships with each other have not yet been released.

Police received the call for shots fired at around 7:30 a.m.

“The first victim was found dead when police arrived,” Alexandria Police spokesman Marcel Bassett told ALXnow. “The second victim was pronounced dead at the hospital.”

Residents outside the apartment complex have been turned away from entering. One single mother and her two children sat on a curb, and she complained that the area is unsafe.

“We hear gunshots all the time, mostly on the weekends,” the woman said. “My car was broken into and my debit cards have been stolen… There’s no security here, and I am trying to figure out how I can get out of my lease.”

Complex owner Greystar says on its website that Assembly Alexandria enjoys “resort-inspired amenities,” although a number of residents say that the property has no security and that the doors to apartments have only single locks on the handles.

“See this key?” said one resident, raising a key from their keychain. “There’s no double locks. This is all it takes to get into our apartments. Anybody can get in.”

Two people were killed in the 200 block of Century Drive on Saturday, July 16, 2022. (Via Google Maps)

Alexandria Police will send out a press release updating the public on the incidents later today, Bassett said.

The incidents are the fifth and sixth homicides in Alexandria this year.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Detective Stephen Riley at 703-746-6225. Callers can remain anonymous.

Via Google Maps

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Virginia State Police (photo via Virginia State Police/Facebook)

Virginia State Police announced that Alexandria resident Derrick R. Adjei has been arrested and charged in both a homicide in Richmond and a police pursuit along I-95 that followed.

Adjei is charged with the murder of Kyle Stoner, a local artist and cook who was killed outside of City Dogs restaurant, WTVR reported.

Virginia State Police said in a release that around 11 p.m. on Sunday, July 3, a trooper observed Adjei’s Toyota 4Runner traveling north at around 101 mph.

“The trooper activated his emergency lights and sirens to initiate a traffic stop on Interstate 95 near the 127 mile marker in Spotsylvania County,” the release said. “The Toyota refused to stop and, instead, accelerated and sped away from the trooper. A pursuit was initiated and continued north through Stafford County and into Prince William County, with the Toyota passing vehicles on the shoulder and traveling in excess of 100 mph.”

Adjei tried to exit in Lorton and head toward Route 1, but most control of the vehicle and ran off the road, striking a utility pole and then a tree.

“The driver, Derrick R. Adjei, 24, of Alexandria, Va., was taken into custody,” the release said. “He was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries sustained in the crash. Adjei was then transported to Rappahannock Regional Jail. A firearm was recovered from the Toyota.”

Police said further investigation connected Adjei with Richmond police’s homicide investigation.

“State police charged Adjei with one felony count of eluding police and for reckless driving,” the release said. “Further investigation resulted in the state police making contact with the City of Richmond Police concerning that agency’s ongoing homicide investigation.”

Photo via Virginia State Police/Facebook

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The Alexandria School Board conducted a closed-door meeting on Tuesday night (June 7) on changes to their operating procedures including a new rule on talking to the media.

In the two-hour-long session, the Board went over proposed changes to its operating procedures, as well as “Eight Characteristics of Effective School Boards,” a report from the Center for Public Education. The meeting was attended by Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr., Board Chair Meagan Alderton, Vice Chair Jacinta Greene, as well as Members Chris Harris, Willie Bailey, Michelle Rief, Tammy Ignacio, Kelly Carmichael Booz and Ashley Simpson Baird.

One of the changes would require Board Members to provide their colleagues with any written responses to the media. Another stipulates that individual School Board Members must avoid directly communicating with ACPS staff “about Division business.”

In the meeting, Board Member Willie Bailey — who previously said that he will not talk with the media — said that it’s important that School Board Members are all on the same team as part of a strong collaboration of mutual trust.

“I just think that we need to be aware that it’s a team,” Bailey said. “And I’ll say it over and over again. When one person is speaking about something out in the open, I really do believe that that one individual feels that their — they don’t understand that folks out there on the street, the citizens, the students, the parents, they see it as (reflecting the comments of) an entire Board. So, I just think we just need to be cognizant of that and just make sure we understand that we have to work as a team.”

Member Abdel Elnoubi says the proposed change on School Board media relations creates peer pressure against talking with journalists.

“I missed the retreat for being sick,” Elnoubi told ALXnow. “I need to see the changes within context to be able to react to them. In my opinion, any discussions that touch on board members independence and the Board’s authority is a matter of public concern and should be readily available, but the retreats are not live-streamed or recorded (they are open to the public for in-person attendance however) which limits the public’s access to such discussions that occur often in retreats. When there’s no public or media presence which is almost all the time, I feel it creates a whole set of different dynamics and a group/peer pressure type environment.”

The front doors of Alexandria City Public Schools headquarters were locked at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night while the School Board conducted a Board retreat — a public meeting — in a third-floor work room of the ACPS Central Office at 1340 Braddock Place.

ALXnow gained access to the meeting via the building’s underground parking garage, and the Board clerk confirmed that the doors were locked. She said that ALXnow is the only attendee at such meetings, and that security would unlock the doors.

While the meeting was not open to the public, consultant Laurie Cromwell said that the operating procedures make for an effective Board, although it can seem like a “back-assward” form of governance.

Cromwell was on a local school board in Texas from 1999 to 2003, after which she started her consulting firm Foundation Innovation. She has been a meeting facilitator for ACPS for years.

It seems very foreign. I remember my first year when I was on the School Board thinking it was the most back-assward way to try and make decisions. I mean, I really was just completely dumbfounded [by] the restrictions and the limits. And then, fast forward now since 1999, I get it, but it’s really more not about limiting you, it’s about the due process of allowing the community to see what you’re doing. That’s the bottom line — that the community has a right to know how decisions are being made, and if you’re doing it with doors closed for issues that are not private matters, they are not involved in that process.

Elnoubi and Booz have broken ranks numerous times over Board rules to limit members’ unfettered access to the media.

Booz said she was confused about the language and thought that it directed ACPS to send all messages to media to Board Members.

“I understand your confusion and I will inquire about clarifying this line,” Booz said.

After the meeting, Board Member Chris Harris was asked about the proposed change regarding written responses to the media.

“I haven’t looked at it,” Harris said, and was then shown the document. “I have no comment on it.”

The development comes after Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. told the Board not to comment to the media regarding the stabbing death of Alexandria City High School senior Luis Mejia Hernandez.

Hutchings wrote:

Board,

You may receive media inquiries regarding recent events. Please do not speak about the incident. I’ve spoken with our communications team to please refrain from using the term ‘no comment’.

However, please say ‘I will refer this media inquiry to our communications team’ then forward to Julia (Burgos with ACPS communications) and Kathy (Mimberg of ACPS communications). Thanks a million!

Sent from Dr. Hutchings’ iPhone

Elnoubi did not comply and told ALXnow: “I understand that Dr. Hutchings may be worried if we say something, it may be attributed to the division. We don’t work for the division though, we oversee it and we work for the people of Alexandria, we represent The people. As elected officials, we are free to choose how, where and what to communicate with the community, which gets to hold us accountable. In times like these, the community needs to hear from its leaders and policymakers.”

The Board’s operating procedures state that any questions from media related to personnel, student matters, school programs and exceptional/emergency events should be fielded by Board Chair Meagan Alderton and the ACPS communications team. School Board members are discouraged from discussing division-wide topics, but retain the right to talk to the media as individuals.

According to Board’s current operating procedures:

School Board Members retain the right to speak to the media as individuals, but must understand that any comment will likely be interpreted by the public as an officials statement of the Board.

In a March retreat, Hutchings advised the Board to not talk with the media in a refresher for the board on their operating procedures in the wake of a National Review article stating that ACPS engaged in a coverup over an alleged sexual assault last year.

The following month, Hutchings scolded the Board for their edits of a staff report on his plan to create a School Law Enforcement Advisory Group, which will make recommendations for SROs in schools to Hutchings by this fall. Hutchings emailed Board Members that there were legal issues with their making edits outside of a Board meeting and that the edits were “extremely problematic,” “inappropriate,” and “disrespectful.”

School Board Chair Meagan Alderton and Hutchings would not comment on the matter, except by directing all questions to ACPS communications.

ACPS communications staff did not respond to ALXnow’s calls for comment.

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