Chilling surveillance video captured suspect Jason Dean Billingsley following tech CEO Pava LaPere home and entering her Baltimore apartment building behind on the night that she was murdered, according to law enforcement sources.
Police sources told CNN that the video shows Billingsley, 32, following LaPere, 26, as she approached the building where she lived and worked on the night of 22 September.
At first, the suspect is seen tailing LaPere from a distance, while she does not appear to be aware of his presence.
LaPere is then seen entering the building before noticing the accused killer, who looks as though he is having difficulty getting into the building or struggling to find his keys.
She then opens the door for him and security cameras in the lobby record the pair in brief conversation.
Billingsley then allegedly follows LaPere into the elevator.
The 32-year-old is seen on video around 40 minutes later leaving the stairwell of the building and entering the lobby, “scrambling for an exit,” according to the statement of charges obtained by CNN affiliate WJZ.
He was also seen wiping his hand on his shorts before exiting the apartment block, the documents state.
LaPere, 26, was found dead on the rooftop of her Baltimore apartment complex three days later on Monday.
Her body was found near a brick, believed to be the murder weapon, as well as a pair of red shoes thought to belong to LaPere, according to court documents.
She died of strangulation and blunt force trauma, officials said.
Authorities said they are not aware of any connections between the suspect and Ms LaPere.
Billingsley was arrested in connection with her death on Wednesday night, ending a two-day manhunt.
The DA and police said they want him handed a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
“My wish is that we can give the family and community a sense of closure,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said in a press conference on Thursday.
“We’re going to put this violent repeat criminal offender in jail, where he belongs. Let’s work together and make sure he stays there.”
The suspect was being tracked by investigators prior to LaPere’s death, with police also believing he is responsible for a rape, arson and attempted murder days earlier that left two adults and a child injured.
The earlier incident took place at a building on Edmonson Avenue, located just a 15-minute walk from LaPere’s residence.
Prior to these incidents, Billingsley was previously arrested on multiple charges including sex offences, second-degree assault and robbery.
The 32-year-old’s repeated violations landed him a 30-year jail sentence in 2015 but he was released from prison in October 2022 after gaining credits for good behaviour, something that “should have never have happened,” Mayor Brandon Scott said at a press conference.
As well as questions about his early release, Baltimore police have also come under fire for the failure to issue a public safety advisory following the incident on Edmonson Avenue.
Commissioner Worley said that his department didn’t think the suspect would strike again because the first attack appeared to be targeted.
“We pretty much know why he went into that house [on 19 September]. He was familiar with the building. He knew the victims,” he said.
“We didn’t think at that point that he was committing random acts because we know he had been out since October 2022 and he wasn’t linked to any violent incidents.”
He added: “The incident on Edmonson Avenue was not a random act. Had it been a random act, we would have put out flyers right away saying this individual was on the loose committing random acts.”
LaPere, founder and CEO of EcoMaps Technologies, was described by a friend as “a force to be reckoned with.”
“She wanted things to be better, it wasn’t just complaining, she wanted to improve things and challenge the status quo and was unapologetic about it because it was for the right reasons,” Karina Mandell, a friend and colleague, told The Independent.
The 26-year-old was also featured on Forbes’ “30 under 30” list for the social impact she was making on the industry.
EcoMaps Technologies, according to its website, is a custom platform builder for companies.
The company released a statement following her death. “The circumstances surrounding Pava’s death are deeply distressing, and our deepest condolences are with her family, friends and loved ones during this incredibly devastating time,” it read.
“Pava was not only the visionary force behind EcoMap but was also a deeply compassionate and dedicated leader.”