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Charging documents: Jason Billingsley raped, set two on fire before murder of Baltimore tech CEO

Suspect Jason Billingsley arrested in killing of tech CEO Pava LaPere, new information revealed
Suspect Jason Billingsley arrested in killing of tech CEO Pava LaPere, new information revealed 03:23

BALTIMORE - An arrest warrant was issued on September 20 for a rape and arson investigation in West Baltimore, five days before 26-year-old tech CEO Pava LaPere was found dead in her Mount Vernon apartment, police said.

Jason Billingsley, a 32-year-old Baltimore man, is accused of both crimes. Billingsley, who is a registered sex offender and a convicted felon, was taken into custody late Wednesday at a train station in Bowie.

Police said detectives were searching for Billingsley after he allegedly set a fire on Sept. 19 in the 800 block of Edmonson Avenue.

It was initially reported as an arson, but Baltimore Police Acting Commissioner Richard Worley confirmed Thursday that a rape investigation was underway in the incident. A man and a woman were burned and left critically injured. A 5-year-old was found unharmed in a separate room in the three-story rowhome.

Full Press Conference: Police provide new details on Jason Billingsley arrest 38:22

Warning: Charging documents obtained by WJZ reveal graphic details about the incident on Edmondson Avenue.

Documents reveal that woman told police that a man who identified himself as maintenance kicked in the front door and pointed a gun at her head, duct-taped her and handcuffed another person in the home.

Documents say that the suspect raped her multiple times, cut her neck, and then poured an unknown liquid on them and set them on fire.

A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, told WJZ that she woke up to the sound of a smoke detector and unforgettable screaming.

"I heard her screaming and banging on the grate help her get out, help her," the neighbor said. "I screamed through the building to see if there was anyone who could help me help her."

Family, friends describe murdered Baltimore tech CEO Pava LaPere as a 'visionary ahead of her time'

That's when she said she realized her building was on fire and the neighbor who resided in the basement was trapped.

"People from across the street came over and got her grate off, and got her out, and pulled the guy who was with her out," the neighbor said.

By the time firefighters arrived to extinguish the flames, the man and woman had been pulled to safety from the basement window.

But neighbors said something didn't seem right.

"He had handcuffs, and his leg was bleeding, and his feet were taped," a neighbor said.

Worley said the attack was targeted and that Billingsley had access to the home on Edmondson Avenue because he worked there.

"We know that the victim and suspect were known to each other," Worley said. "We know that the suspect did not break into the building as he worked at the location. We have evidence to believe the victims of Edmondson Avenue were targeted by the suspect, that the suspect knew the victims and he went into that location for a criminal reason."  

Security cameras captured the suspect inside the home wearing a facemask, pointing a gun and grabbing the woman.

Billingsley, who was the location's maintenance worker, was identified after he was found in the area fixing things, doing yard work and walking inside the home.

Worley said they didn't immediately release information about the rape and arson investigation because it wasn't deemed as a "random attack."

"He had access to the (home). He was allowed in the apartment. So there was no reason to believe that he was out committing random acts," Worley said. "Had we believed that the flyer would have gone out to everyone on Sept. 20 as soon as we got the warrant."

Days later, police said Billingsley was named as a suspect in LaPere's murder. 

LaPere, who co-founded EcoMap Technologies, a company that says it digitizes ecosystems with its proprietary technology, was believed to have been killed on Sept. 22.

She was reported missing on Sept. 25, the same day her body was found at the Baltimore apartment.

Baltimore Police were working with federal and local authorities to find Billingsley before LaPere was killed, Worley said. 

Shortly before police publicly identified Billingsley as the suspect in LaPere's death on Tuesday, authorities were "within 88 meters of catching the suspect," Worley said, but he eluded their capture.   

"We never got close enough," Worley said. "Eighty-eight meters is the closest I believe we got which is about 300 feet, which is about the size of a football field and that's why we had the delay for the press conference because we knew where he was at, and we were looking for him."

Worley said that during the press conference, the devices police were tracking became disconnected and the suspect was using other ways to communicate.

Worley refused to speculate that if police had notified the public sooner after the arson LaPere's murder may have been avoided.

"I'm not going to speculate if it could have prevented her death," Worley said. "As soon as we realized that there was a public safety we had the press conference."

Worley also said the victims in Edmondson Avenue were being protected while Billingsley was on the loose.

"There were some victims from Edmondson Avenue that were still out," Worley said. "One was at the hospital. One was at their location. We had to get them protection if we were going to put that information out because we didn't know what this guy was going to do."

Billingsley's Criminal History 

According to court records, Billingsley at 18 pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in 2009.

He was ultimately given two years of supervised probation but violated the terms and was convicted in a second-degree assault case in 2011, where he served a two-year prison sentence. 

Jason Billingsley, 32 Baltimore Police

After being released, Billingsley was convicted of a rape attempt a mere three months later. 

A judge handed down a 30-year sentence with an expected 2043 release date. However 16 years of the sentence was suspended, and he was given five years of supervised probation. 

He was paroled in October 2022, according to Baltimore City State's Attorney Ivan Bates. 

"It is very clear that this individual poses a substantial danger that he had been noncompliant and was clearly violating the terms of his supervision after being released," Scott said, "And that alone should be enough to make sure that we keep him off the streets."

Worley said Billingsley had been compliant with his reporting as a registered sex offender until he failed to show up Monday.

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