(TMU) – Virginia police claim that a suspect in a rape case who was released from jail under the state’s early release plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic later went on to kill the woman who accused him of the crime.
Officers in Alexandria, Virginia, found a woman shot to death last week in the city’s first homicide of the year. The victim was identified as Karla Elizabeth Dominguez, a Venezuelan immigrant with no family in the United States.
Dominguez accused Ibrahim E. Bouaichi, 33, of violently raping her last October. He was charged with rape, sodomy, strangulation, abduction, burglary and malicious wounding before he turned himself in on October 21.
In December, Bouaichi was indicted on charges of rape, strangulation, and abduction and was jailed without bond in a local jail, reports Washington Post.
Following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Bouaichi’s lawyers pushed to have him released while awaiting trial due to the danger posed by COVID-19 against both inmates and attorneys.
In their motion, lawyers Manuel Leiva and Frank Salvato noted that “social distancing and proper disinfecting measures are impossible while incarcerated.… Simply put, the risk of contracting Covid-19 in a jail is exceedingly obvious.” They added that they themselves were at risk due to any visit to the facility exposing them to “contaminated air and surfaces.”
While an Alexandria prosecutor objected to the early release, Circuit Court Judge Nolan Dawkins released Bouaichi on $25,000 bond on the condition that he only leave his home in Maryland to meet his lawyers and pretrial services officials.
Alexandria police say that Bouaichi returned to Alexandria on July 29 and shot and killed Dominguez outside of her apartment.
Police immediately sought to find Bouaichi and released a video requesting public assistance in locating the alleged killer, who they described as “armed and dangerous.”
On Wednesday, federal marshals and local police found Bouaichi in Prince George’s County and a chase ensued. Bouaichi eventually crashed his car and was discovered by officers with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He is reported to be in grave condition as of Thursday.
Ibrahm Elkahlil Bouaichi, who was wanted for the July 29 murder of Karla Elizabeth Dominguez Gonzalez, has been taken…
The case is representative of a sad side effect of the pandemic. Civil liberties advocates argue that the coronavirus pandemic requires that jails and prisons should release incarcerated people early, especially due to the high possibility that they face infection and needless death due to being kept in such tight and often overcrowded confines.
Indeed, with the U.S. have the largest number of incarcerated people out of any country in the world, prisoners are crammed together and forced to share cells, dining spaces, and showers, making them extraordinarily vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19 – unjustly turning many prison sentences into a death sentence.
Most of those who have been released across the country were either nonviolent criminals or inmates whose violent crimes occurred decades ago and are now sick and old.
However, there have also been reports across the country that some inmates released due to the pandemic have gone on to allegedly commit more crimes, including murder. Such was the tragic case for Karla Dominguez.