As Jholie Moussa's mother Syreeta stood just feet away, 18-year-old Nebiyu Ebrahim admitted in court Wednesday that he used a chokehold to strangle her 16-year-old daughter in an uncontrollable rage as if he was "possessed."
Moussa left home under mysterious circumstances on Jan 12, 2018. She told her twin sister she was going to a party in Norfolk, nearly 200 miles away. Fourteen days later, on Jan. 25, police found her body in a wooded area of Woodlawn Park.
The teenage boy was reportedly angry because he had previously been convicted of assaulting his then girlfriend by slapping her and once choking her to the point she passed out. He was angry that she was trying to break up with him. So he asked her to meet him in a park, strangled her and hid her body.
"For me this was an abuser who felt that he was going to lose the person he was trying to control," said prosecutor Casey Lingan.
Ebrahim told detectives he actually choked Moussa twice more. Then, he dragged her lifeless body away from a walking path and into the woods, covering her with leaves.
Hours later, he was in his neighborhood in the Mount Vernon area. He pulled the SIM card out of Moussa's cellphone, put it in a weighted bag and threw it into a pond with fountains. Police say he didn't want anyone to know the two had been on Snapchat the night Moussa disappeared.
Moussa's family reported her missing, and her body was found two weeks later.
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The victim's mother Syreeta Steward said she hopes the confession is one step toward getting justice for her daughter.
"I do want him convicted to the full extent of the law," she said. "I want him to do the maximum time. I just don't want any other young woman to fall to the fate that Jolie did especially from his hands."