Murder suspect
Murder suspect Jason Billingsley is now in custody for the Sept. 25 murder of Pava LaPere, a 26-year old Baltimore-based CEO, according to an announcement made by authorities on Sept. 28. Billingsley has a record that includes a 2013 rape and aside from LaPere’s murder, he is also being held in connection with a Sept. 19 arson, rape and attempted murder. (Photo Courtesy of the Baltimore Police Department)

By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
tmcqueen@afro.com

Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley, Mayor Brandon M. Scott and  Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan Bates announced the arrest of murder suspect Jason Billingsley, 32, on Sept. 28. 

“Billingsley was taken into custody in Bowie, Md. at approximately 11 p.m. last night,” said Worley, at a press gathering in the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) headquarters. “We captured this violent criminal without incident or further loss.”

Billingsley was arrested for the Sept. 25 first-degree murder of 26-year-old Pava LaPere, a Forbes 30 and Under 30 tech CEO. He was also charged for the Sept. 19 arson, rape and attempted murder of several unnamed victims on Edmondson Avenue.

Scott said LaPere’s family requested the details of her murder be withheld from the public.

“I had the pleasure of knowing LaPere and she was truly a light in our city,” said Scott. “He should not have been on the streets, and we will continue to make sure that we are working with our state’s attorney and our partners to make sure that he does not get back out on the streets here in Baltimore.”

Billingsley was arrested in 2009, 2011 and 2013 for various charges, including sex offense, second-degree assault and robbery.

“We have information to believe that the victims from Edmondson Avenue were targeted by the suspect, that the suspect knew the victim and he went into that location for a criminal reason,” said Worley. “We know that the suspect did not break into the building as he worked at that location.”

BPD had been tracking Billingsley closely from Sept. 20 until his capture on Sept. 27, but said they could only get about a football field length close to him before losing him. During that time, LaPere was found dead.

“Our detectives and everyone in the department didn’t think– at that point– that he was committing random acts, because we knew he had been out since October 2022,” said Worley.

Worley said he does not believe the police made an error.

“If we made a mistake. I would tell you we made a mistake– like I did in Brooklyn,” said Worley. “As soon as we realized he had committed an act that seemed to be random – we put the flier up.”

Bates revealed that he’s already selected two prosecutors from his office to oversee the case, but when pressed by reporters for their names, he refused to give them.

“I decided two of my most experienced prosecutors will have this case. They’ve worked with this case from the very beginning– every single day they have been involved,” said Bates. “They will eventually present this case in front of the grand jury. My office will file for life without the possibility of parole. Our hope and goal is if this individual is found guilty in a court of law, he will never get out to see the light of day again.”