Slain Muslim teen also was raped, indictment charges
A 17-year-old girl killed this summer in a case that shook northern Virginia’s Muslim community also was raped, according to an indictment handed up Monday by a grand jury in Fairfax County.
Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, is accused of abduction, rape, sexual assault and capital murder in the death of Nabra Hassanen, who was attacked and killed early on June 18, as she walked back to a mosque with friends ahead of the daylong Ramadan fast.
The eight-count indictment, obtained by CNN affiliate WJLA, confirms investigators’ claims in the days after Nabra’s slaying that the teen may have been sexually assaulted.
A trial date is expected to be set at a Thursday morning hearing, a Fairfax County Circuit Court clerk told CNN. Torres was ordered held without bond in June after an initial charge of murder. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
An attorney for Torres could not be identified.
He is being represented by the county public defender’s office, which did not immediately return CNN’s request for comment.
At a court hearing on Friday in Fairfax County, Nabra’s parents saw Torres in person for the first time. Nabra’s mother threw a shoe at Torres and shouted “I’ll kill you” in the courtroom, according to CNN affiliate WJLA.
At that time, Torres waived his right to a probable cause hearing and a jury trial was ordered. It’s unclear if he has entered a plea on the murder charge.
A handful of people were escorted out of the courtroom after the commotion. Outside the courthouse, a crowd of about 150 people had gathered with signs showing support for Nabra, according to WJLA.
Sexual assault, premeditation alleged
Torres, of Sterling, Virginia, allegedly was in his car when he first saw Nabra and her friends walking and riding bikes in the street and on the sidewalk. He became so enraged after arguing with one teen he drove up on a curb, police said. He later found the group in a nearby parking lot, chased them on foot with a baseball bat and allegedly beat Nabra.
Torres, 22, put the injured teen in his car, officials said. Her body was found Sunday evening in Loudoun County.
The indictment accuses Torres of raping and sexually assaulting Nabra with an unspecified object before killing her “with premeditation.”
Nabra died from blunt-force trauma to the head and neck, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Northern Virginia said. Authorities initially believed Torres had beaten her with a baseball bat.
Immigration officials have placed a hold on Torres, a native of El Salvador, because he was in the country illegally.
Police reject hate crime claims
Local authorities have called Nabra’s death a road-rage incident and declined to investigate it as a hate crime.
But some in her family and her religious community insist she was targeted because of her race and her faith. When she was kidnapped, Nabra was wearing an abaya, a traditional black cloak, her father, Mahmoud Hassanen, has said.
The Council on American Islamic Relations represents Hassanen’s family in the criminal case. Their lawyer and Nabra’s father did not immediately respond Tuesday to CNN’s requests for comment.