Murdered Baltimore tech CEO latest victim of progressive criminal justice, experts say
Maryland tech CEO Pava Marie LaPere is the latest victim of progressive criminal justice reform and the “decarceration” movement – a push to let prisoners free, according to experts.
Police found LaPere, 26, dead in her West Franklin Street apartment in Baltimore Monday morning. Her body showed signs of blunt force trauma, according to authorities.
She had been named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list this year for the social impact category in her work as founder and “chief ecosystems officer” of EcoMap Technologies, a 30-person software and data firm based in Baltimore.
Her suspected killer, 32-year-old Jason Dean Billingsley, is an ex-con who was released from a 30-year sentence for rape he began in 2015. Half of the sentence had been suspended, however, he still spent only about seven years in prison, court records show, despite assault convictions in 2009 and 2011.
“This individual will kill, and he will rape,” acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said during a news briefing Tuesday. “He will do anything he can to cause harm.”
Authorities are urging Baltimore residents to “be aware” of their surroundings as the hunt for the suspected killer continues, and they are looking into a potential connection to at least one other case.
Police responded to a reported arson on Sept. 19 and rescued a family of three. The parents were both hospitalized in critical condition, but a 5-year-old in the home was unharmed.
On Monday, police found LaPere partially disrobed on the roof of her apartment building in the Mount Vernon neighborhood, according to the Baltimore Banner newspaper.
“The first thing I think about is here we are again, with a situation where a sexual offender, a heavy-duty sexual offender, was let out early,” said John Kelly, a criminal profiler and president of STALK Inc. “Right away I go back to the Memphis jogger.”
Memphis teacher Eliza Fletcher was abducted during a pre-dawn jog last year. Days later, police found her body behind a vacant home. They soon arrested Cleotha Abston, a 39-year-old ex-con who had recently been released from prison and was suspected in prior rapes, kidnappings and robberies.
“This will continue to go on until people realize that these extreme violence sexual offenders usually do not get better in prison,” he said. “The bottom line is, it doesn’t seem that they can be rehabilitated. We have strong historical evidence that after they get out they re-offend.”
Another example, Kelly said, is suspected Austin, Texas, serial killer Raul Meza Jr., who shot a man in 1975, killed a girl in 1982 and was just arrested in connection with the deaths of his former probation officer Jesse Fraga, 80, and 66-year-old Gloria Lofton. He is also suspected in at least eight additional cold cases.
Meza had served 11 years of a 30-year sentence in the rape and murder of 8-year-old Kendra Page.
Violent sex predators tend to become model inmates while locked up, Kelly said, because they want to get out and commit more crimes.
“There’s no hiccups that he would’ve had in prison, because they wouldn’t have let him out,” he said of Billingsley.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, however, criticized Billingsley’s early release.
“There’s no way in hell he should have been out on the street,” Scott said, later adding, “We’re tired of talking about the same people committing the same kind of crimes over and over again.”
Kelly said the early release of violent sex offenders is “a growing epidemic” and warned that they can become more likely to murder their victims after they get a new taste of freedom.
“They learn pretty fast that the way to stay out of prison is to not have a witness, so they kill most of the time for witness disposal,” he said. “It’s also ritualistic and part of a fantasy.”
Many, but not all, serial killers are rapists before they become killers, he added.
“Progressive reforms have left us all vulnerable, and these politicians have been gaslighting us all of the way,” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Fox News’ Adam Sabes contributed to this report.