Cause of death of murdered Maryland tech CEO Pava LaPere revealed

Jason Billingsley, the suspect in the executive’s killing, had been linked to a separate attack

Martha McHardy,Andrea Blanco
Friday 29 September 2023 17:11 BST
Jason Billingsley allegedly followed Pava LaPere to her apartment building

Tech CEO Pava LaPere, who was murdered at her Maryland apartment building last week, died of strangulation and blunt force trauma, court documents show.

Ms LaPere, 26, was found dead on the rooftop of her Baltimore apartment complex on Monday, three days after she was killed, according to official records obtained by CNN affiliate WJZ.

Her body was found near a brick, believed to be the weapon, and a pair of red shoes thought to be Ms LaPere’s, the documents say.

Pava LaPere
Pava LaPere (Facebook/Pava LaPere)

Jason Dean Billingsley, 32, was arrested in connection with her death on Wednesday night, ending a two-day manhunt.

Billingsley was being tracked by investigators prior to Ms LaPere’s death, with police believing he was responsible for a rape, arson and attempted murder days earlier that left two adults and a child injured, according to officials.

The earlier incident took place at a building on Edmonson Avenue, located just a 15-minute walk from Ms LaPere’s residence.

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.

Authorities said they are not aware of any connections between the suspect and Ms LaPere.

Jason Dean Billingsley was previously convicted on assault and sex offence charges
Jason Dean Billingsley was previously convicted on assault and sex offence charges (Baltimore Police Department)

CCTV footage showed Billingsley following Ms LaPere days before her body was found as she approached the building where she lived and worked, charging documents allege.

The video shows the suspect following Ms LaPere from a distance, but she does not appear to be aware of his presence.

Ms LaPere is then seen entering the building and notices Billingsley, who looked as if he was having difficulty getting into the building. She then opens the door for him and security cameras in the lobby recorded the pair in conversation, according to CNN.

Frank LaPere, Nico LaPere and Caroline Frank at a vigil for slain tech CEO Pava LaPere
Frank LaPere, Nico LaPere and Caroline Frank at a vigil for slain tech CEO Pava LaPere (AP)

Billingsley can then be seen following LaPere into the elevator.

The 32-year-old is later seen on video leaving the stairwell of the building and entering the lobby, “scrambling for an exit,” according to the statement of charges. He was also seen wiping his hand on his shorts before leaving the building, according to court documents.

The DA said his office intends to seek a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

“My wish is that we can give the family and community a sense of closure,” Commissioner Worley said. “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.”

Ms LaPere, who was the 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.

Her 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.”

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