Prosecutors want a judge to add new rules to the court order governing the release of a man who killed an Alexandria store manager because he thought the victim was a werewolf, NBC Washington is first to report.
Pankaj Bhasin was committed and spent three years at a mental health facility after he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 2019. His attorneys said he was in a psychotic state when he stabbed Brad Jackson, a complete stranger, more than 50 times because he thought the victim was a werewolf.
Prosecutors now say Bhasin’s Facebook dating profile misrepresents what’s happened in recent years. In a court filing, they included a screen shot as an example. It describes Bhasin as “an easy going adventurer who believes in universal connection” who is “recently getting back from two years of travel.”
The post was first flagged by a woman who wrote, “A word of caution for those of us on dating apps.” She went on to describe details of Brad Jackson’s death.
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Sarah Bryen spotted and reposted the warning. She was one of the victim’s friends.
“What I noticed was a person that had killed my friend, had been locked up at a mental hospital for several years now, was now online dating on the internet with a profile that basically said, likes to have fun, easygoing,” she said.
That social media portrayal also concerns prosecutors. They filed a motion seeking to modify the terms of the court order governing Bhasin’s release back into the community.
News4 was first to report in June that Bhasin sought and was granted a conditional release from the mental health facility. The judge’s order requires him to take medication, wear a GPS monitor and get home visits from mental health workers. But the order does not bar Bhasin from accessing social media.
Now, prosecutors are asking the judge to modify the rules to either bar Bhasin from social media or require software to allow those overseeing his release to monitor his posts.
“Because the acquittee may be meeting potential romantic partners while not only concealing, but actively lying about his recent history, those individuals may be put at risk during a … time when the acquittee is first transitioning to the community,” the prosecution’s motion says.
A few days after women began sounding the alarm, the Facebook profile was cleared out – posts are no longer available.
“I’m glad that it’s no longer available,” Bryen said. “I’ve had other women tell me that they’ve seen him on Bumble, on Hinge, on other sites, so even if one gets taken down, there’s nothing to say he just won’t make another profile.”
A hearing at the prosecutor’s request is set for Thursday.
News4 contacted Bhasin’s defense attorney to get his response but has not yet heard back.