A convicted sex offender sought in the brutal murder of a Baltimore tech CEO is also suspected of an attempted murder just a week earlier.
A manhunt is underway for Jason Dean Billingsley, 32, after he was linked to the murder of 26-year-old Pava LaPere, the founder and CEO of EcoMaps Technologies. LaPere’s partially clothed body was found with evident signs of blunt force trauma on the roof of her apartment building on Monday, The Baltimore Banner reports.
Billingsley, who is considered “armed” and “dangerous,” is wanted on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree assault, sex offence and robbery. Baltimore police revealed during a press conference on Tuesday that the suspect is a convicted sex offender with a lengthy criminal history.
Baltimore police confirmed on Wednesday that Billingsley has also been linked to an attempted murder, arson and rape on 19 September in the 800 block of Edmondson Avenue — just a 15-minute walk from LaPere’s building. A $6,000 reward is being offered for information regarding Billingsley’s whereabouts.
“Additionally, detectives are now reviewing all cases since [his release in] October, 2022, to the present day in order to determine any other connections,” the department told The Independent in a statement.
A police source told DailyMail that the 19 September attack left a woman in critical condition after she was raped and her throat was slashed with a knife, according to the source. A man was also injured and a minor suffered smoke inhalation during the ordeal.
Billingsley was released last year following a conviction on a first-degree sex offence. Mayor Brandon Scott, who knew LaPere through her work as an entrepreneur, criticised the early release, saying it should have never happened.
“There is no way in hell that he should have been out on the street,” Mr Scott said. “When the police go out and do their job, as they did in this case ... and the state’s attorney goes out and does their work, gets the conviction, the conviction should be the conviction.”
Billingsley was previously arrested in 2009, 2011 and 2013 on multiple charges including sex offences, second-degree assault and robbery.
He pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in 2009 and was given two years of supervised probation. He violated the terms of his parole and was convicted of second-degree assault in 2011, court records show.
Billingsley served two years over the 2011 conviction and just months after being released in 2013, he was arrested again on attempted rape charges
In 2015, Mr Billingsley was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with 16 years suspended and five years of supervised probation, after he pleaded guilty to a first-degree sex offence. He was released from prison last October on “good-time” credits,” the Baltimore Banner reported.
According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, inmates convicted of a violent crime are awarded good conduct credits at the rate of five days per month served.
At the press conference on Tuesday, Mayor Scott slammed the early release but refused to answer questions from reporters on whether he believed Billingsley had “slipped through the system’s cracks.”
“We will find you. So, I would ask you to turn yourself in to any officer, any police station, because we will take you into custody eventually, and then we will turn it over to the state’s attorney to prosecute you to the fullest. So, please turn yourself in,” Commissioner Worley said.