A grand jury has formally charged a 22-year-old man with capital murder and rape in the death of Nabra Hassanen, who was killed on her walk back to a Virginia mosque.
On Monday, the Fairfax County Circuit Court charged Darwin Martinez-Torres, a Sterling man, with four capital murder charges for the killing of Nabra. He was with his friends as they ate before Ramadan services. Dozens of people had gathered outside the courthouse today, chanting “Justice for Nabra.”
Virginia law has specific conditions for pursuing the death penalty, but the Associated Press reported that the grand jury’s indictment described in graphic detail how Nabra’s killing was grounds for a death penalty against Martinez-Torres. The indictment appears to acknowledge for the first time that the 17-year-old Muslim teen was raped. The death penalty is possible when a combination of a murder and a rape case can be brought against Martinez-Torres.
Police have said that Martinez-Torres, who is an undocumented immigrant, got into a confrontation on June 18 with a group of teens walking back to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society after grabbing a late meal. He’s accused of beating Nabra with his baseball bat after he returned later. According to police, Nabra’s corpse was found in a nearby pond. According to AP, a search warrant affidavit showed that Martinez-Torres had admitted to the murder of Nabra. He also led authorities to where he had dumped Nabra’s body.
Nabra’s parents, and Muslim advocates claim that Nabra was murdered out of hatred. However, police have stated that the murder will not be treated as hate crimes. Police have stated that it was an road-rage incident ..
“The reason this man hit my daughter because she’s Muslim,” Nabra’s father Mahmoud Hashed told WAMU . “Why [didn’t he], hit the boy ?”
Nabra? His father said he wanted the death penalty. However, Nabra’s mother stated that she would prefer Martinez-Torres be sentenced to life imprisonment.
I just want people remember her and not forget her,” Mahmoud said to WAMU. “I believe nobody can forget her, for her actions in her life .”
On Friday, Martinez-Torres’ preliminary hearing was turned emotionally with Nabra and her parents shouting at him in court. Nabra’s mother Sawsan Gazzar allegedly threw her shoe at Martinez Torres in the course of the proceedings.