Friday, September 29, 2023

Forget It Jake, It's Baltimore

John Sexton at Hat Hair, Baltimore murder suspect has been arrested but the police made some poor decisions

Yesterday I wrote about this case in which a 26-year-old CEO, Pava LaPere, was murdered in her own building by a 32-year-old man with a long, violent history. As Ed pointed out in the headlines, Jacob Billingsley was arrested last night, which is good news.

However, reading over some of the news stories today, I really wonder if police aren’t partly to blame for what happened here. It turns out that Billingsley was already wanted for a violent rape which happened on Sep. 19, just three days before the murder of LaPere. But police decided not to inform the public about that crime.
Billingsley was also suspected of raping a woman days before LaPere’s death and was already under police surveillance, authorities said Thursday. Police, however, declined to tell the public about the incident because they believed it was “targeted,” stirring up criticism that LaPere’s death might have been avoided.

In that incident, Billingsley is accused of slitting a woman’s throat and raping her “several times during the night” before tying her up with duct tape and lighting her on fire, court documents show. Billingsley is also alleged to have handcuffed the woman’s boyfriend and set him ablaze.

The woman told authorities she heard a loud banging at the door on Sept. 19 by a man who said he worked for the building’s maintenance department. (Billingsley was a maintenance worker in the building.)

The man, who was wearing a mask, then kicked in the front door and pointed a gun at her, documents show.
This was an extremely violent crime along with an attempted murder. Police found Billingsley’s backpack at the scene and he was immediately identified as the suspect because a) he worked there and b) his victims survived. So why didn’t police notify the community? They say it’s because the rape and attempted murder was targeted.
[Acting Police Commissioner Richard] Worley defended the police department’s decision to not publicize its search for Billingsley immediately after the September 19 crimes – which critics say might have helped get him back behind bars before LaPere was killed.

“The first incident on Edmondson Avenue was not a random act. Had it been a random act, we would have put out a flier right away, saying this individual was on the loose, committing random acts,” Worley said.

“We know pretty much why he went into the house on Edmondson Avenue, why he committed those acts. He worked at that building, he was familiar with the victims. I’m not going to say too much more because I don’t want to talk bad about victims. But he was there for a reason,” Worley said.

The acting police chief said investigators had been tracking Billingsley and didn’t want to issue a flier too soon, which could prompt the suspect to flee.
So they were more worried about Billingsley seeing the warning and running than they were about the public getting a warning he was out there. It was only after LaPere’s murder that they changed strategy:
“As soon as we realized he had committed an act that seemed to be random … we put the flier out,” Worley said. “And just as we thought, as soon as he saw the flier, he tried to elude capture and turned off all devices we were able to track him on.”
To be very clear, the first rape happened on the 19th. Billingsley then followed LaPere to her home and convinced her to open the front door for him three days later on the 22nd. But police didn’t know she was dead until Monday the 25th. So it was three days after her murder that they finally changed strategy and came out with the blunt warning that Billingsley would kill and rape again given a chance. That warning might have helped if it had been given right away.

I read about the murder, but I hadn't realized it was Baltimore. Trust the Baltimore PD to screw up the investigation. 

At City Journal, Maurice Richards writes that Baltimore’s Thin Blue Line Is Broken "Nothing kills a police department faster than destruction of officer morale—and in the BPD, morale is dead."

No comments:

Post a Comment