‘Rapists Shouldn’t Be Let Out Early, Period,’ Mayor Says After Police Arrest Suspect for Rape and Murder of Baltimore Tech CEO

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Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) and government officials formally announced the arrest of suspect Jason Dean Billingsley on Sept. 28 for the rape and murder of tech CEO Pava LaPere, in addition to another rape and arson reported last week.

Billingsley, 32, was arrested without incident last night in Bowie by a Prince George’s County SWAT team for the 26-year-old woman’s rape and murder as well as the rape and arson incident on the 800 block of Edmonson Avenue on Sept. 19.

During a press conference, Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said Billingsley’s arrest was a multi-departmental effort, with officers at the local, state and federal level tracking the suspect for six days.

Though details of LaPere’s final hours were limited out of respect for her family’s wishes, Worley said there were no signs of forced entry into her apartment as Billingsley was a maintenance worker and had keys to the building. In regards to the Edmondson Avenue case, Worley said the victim and Billingsley knew each other and it was not a random act of violence.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates wouldn’t discuss the facts of the case, but said two of the most experienced prosecutors in his office will handle the accusations against Billingsley.

Pending a grand jury indictment, Bates said the prosecution’s only plea offer will be life without the possibility of parole in order to make sure he “never … see[s] the light of day again.”

When asked why city residents should trust BPD with their safety given these latest incidents, Mayor Brandon Scott said residents should trust BPD, but, “[They] should be questioning why [Billingsley] was let out.”

Billingsley was released in October 2022 having served a little less than two-thirds of his sentence due to an accumulation of so-called “good time credits” that prisoners in the Maryland Department of Corrections can earn for every month without an infraction.

Both Bates and Scott criticized the law that disallowed only a small number of sex offenders to earn the credits, with Bates calling Billingsley’s release a “systematic failure,” and Scott saying, “Rapists shouldn’t be let out early, period.”

Billingsley was on parole and probation at the time of both offenses. He was additionally required to stay away from the victim in his previous case and register as sex offender. Worley said that Billingsley had been compliant with all the requirements of his release until Sept. 25, when he was supposed to check in with the sex offender registry but didn’t appear.

According to court documents, Billingsley’s last conviction was more than a decade ago when a woman reported that Billingsley forced her to perform oral sex inside a vacant home on the 600 block of N. Carrollton Avenue. The woman told BPD officers she knew Billingsley only by “Jason,” and he had initially approached her around 1 a.m. when she was sitting outside the vacant home after having an argument with her boyfriend.

Billingsley told the woman she could stay with him, but that his keys were inside and she had to climb in through the window to unlock the door. Once inside, she rejected Billingsley’s sexual advances after which he hit her and strangled her with both hands. He then forced her to perform oral sex and stole $53.

Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Police Department.

Following the woman’s positive identification and his arrest, Billingsley was charged with attempted rape, armed robbery, second-degree assault and false imprisonment. He accepted a plea agreement of 30 years, suspending all but 14 years, and five years of supervised probation for first-degree sex offense before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Emanuel Brown in February 2015 and was released in October 2022.

The judge was reluctant to accept this plea, Bates said during Thursday’s press conference.

Despite no evidence currently linking Billingsley to other cases, BPD is re-examining all open cases between October 2022 and now to see if he could have committed any other crimes. Worley encouraged any of his other potential victims to come forward.

Billingsley was also convicted of second-degree assault in June 2011 for an incident in September 2010 when he went into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment on the 500 block of Dolphin Street and demanded money. When she refused, Billingsley became angry, hit her in the face and pinned her down. Afterword, Billingsley told her he had her phone and refused to give it back before leaving the apartment. He later took a plea of two years for second-degree assault before Judge Timothy J. Doory.

His 2011 assault conviction also placed him in violation of probation for a first-degree assault from September 2009 for robbing a man of $10 on the 1800 block of Pratt Street. The case concluded that December with another plea agreement of a suspended sentence and two years of probation before Judge David W. Young.

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