Grand Jury Indicts Laken Riley's Murder Suspect on Ten Counts

The person who is accused of killing Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student, has been officially charged with murder and other crimes related to the violent killing on the University of Georgia campus.

Jose Ibarra, who is 26 years old, has been charged with malice murder and felony murder for the death of Riley. Riley was found dead in a wooded area on the Athens campus on February 22nd after she didn’t come back from a run.

The indictment, which was returned by the Athens Clarke County grand jury on Tuesday, accuses Ibarra of killing the Augusta University student by hitting her head with a rock multiple times, causing serious injuries and asphyxiating her.

The 10-count indictment includes additional charges such as aggravated battery, kidnapping with bodily injury, aggravated assault with intent to rape, obstructing or hindering a person making an emergency telephone call, and tampering with evidence. The second charge claimed that he intentionally hid evidence, specifically a jacket and gloves, related to the crime of malice murder.

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He was also accused of committing a peeping tom offense. The indictment claims that on the day Riley was murdered, the defendant looked through the window of another person’s apartment on campus.

“Ibarra will have a court date set for his arraignment,” said a spokesperson from the Western Circuit District Attorney’s Office, who is handling the case, in a statement. “We will not provide any more information about this case at the moment.”

Ibarra was taken into custody on February 23rd and initially accused of several crimes, including murder, assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, interfering with a 911 call, and hiding someone’s death. He was not allowed to be released on bond and is currently being held at the Clarke County Jail.

According to Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB, his lawyers asked for a trial by jury in court papers filed in March. The police have stated that they don’t think Ibarra, who is a migrant from Venezuela, knew Riley. They believe that this was a crime that happened by chance. Many conservatives are using her death as a reason to push for immigration reform.

According to immigration authorities, Ibarra entered the United States illegally in 2022. According to reports, he was arrested by the New York City police the next year. He was charged with behaving in a way that could harm a child under 17 and violating a motor vehicle license. The NYPD released him before a detainer could be issued. The NYPD has stated that they do not have any record of an arrest under the name provided.

Last week, the Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, approved a new law that mandates jailers in the state to verify the immigration status of inmates. Kemp stated that the immigration bill became a top priority after the tragic death of Laken Riley. The person responsible for her death was in the country illegally and had been arrested before, even after crossing the border.

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