What to Know
- Hassanen, who was 17, was beaten to death in June 2017 as she was returning to a mosque in Sterling, Virginia
- Darwin Martinez-Torres was arrested and charged with capital murder in the case
- Police initially said Martinez Torres lashed out in a case of road rage, but the victim's family believes her killing was a bias crime.
The man charged in the high-profile killing of Nabra Hassanen, a Muslim teen who was attacked while heading to a mosque in Virginia during Ramadan, has entered a guilty plea.
Darwin Martinez Torres pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to the rape and murder of Hassanen.
Among the charges was a capital murder charge, which could have potentially resulted in the death penalty. But after consulting with the victim's family, the prosecution agreed not to pursue capital punishment.
Hassanen, who was 17, was beaten to death on June 18, 2017, as she returned to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque in Sterling, Virginia.
Torres attacked a group of Muslim teens as they were walking back to the mosque after picking up food at a nearby shopping center, police said. He drove his car over the curb and the teens scattered. According to police, Torres allegedly grabbed Hassanen, hit her with a baseball bat, raped her, killed her and dumped her body in a pond.
Hassanen's father, Mohmod Hassanen, wept on Wednesday as he spoke outside court.
"I remember her every day. Every single day," he said.
Torres was charged with both capital murder and rape. Police initially said Martinez Torres lashed out in a case of road rage, but the victim's family believes her killing was a bias crime.
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The case drew international attention, with some using the hashtag #JusticeforNabra. Vigils for Hassanen were held across the U.S.
In an unusual part of Torres' plea agreement, he agreed to answer any questions Hassanen's family has about her murder.
Prosecutors sought during hearings to tie Torres to the gang MS-13. Torres is undocumented, and ICE placed a detainer on him after his arrest.
His mental abilities were expected to be a key part of court arguments in his defense, and the judge in May appointed brain experts to evaluate Torres.