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Along Dranesville Road in Sterling, a memorial for Nabra Hassanen continues to grow.
There are flowers, balloons, and messages of love.
And a sign, with her picture on it, that simply reads ‘Justice for Nabra.’
“So bad… so bad,” whispers Nagla Hammed, who watched Hassanen growing up in her Reston neighborhood, from the time she was seven.
Hammed is among many who are reeling from the news that the 17-year-old was raped, then brutally murdered, in what court documents are calling a premeditated act.
The rape allegation was first revealed in an indictment handed up Monday by a county grand jury.
Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney Ray Morrogh says he intends to pursue the death penalty against the defendant, 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres.
“I feel bad for her,” Hammed says. “She’s nice all the time. I didn't see anything bad from her. Never.”
Police emphasize they’ve found no evidence this was a hate crime.
They say Hassanen was among a group of teens chased by Torres, after a road-rage confrontation on June 18.
Investigators say Torres caught Hassanen, bludgeoned her with a baseball bat, and raped her, before killing her and dumping her body in a lake near his Sterling home.
“Every day I think about my daughter,” Mohmod Hassanen told reporters Friday. “I love my daughter with all my heart. She was very nice lady, she likes to help. But today she is not with me.”
Charging documents say after the deadly attack, Torres returned to the scene, in a parking lot off Dranesville Road.
Another teen pointed out Torres to officers, who took him into custody.
According to a search warrant, Torres admitted he killed Hassanen, and led detectives to her body.
Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler issued a statement, which says in part:
“Our officers brought this suspect into custody and take comfort in knowing he’s behind bars. We have full confidence the Commonwealth’s Attorney will ensure justice is served for Nabra, her family and friends, and our entire community.”
Lena Masri, an attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR for short, says the Hassanen family are grateful for the work of police and prosecutors.
But she says she and her legal team disagree with the notion this was a road rage case.
“It’s abundantly clear this was not a road rage,” Masri says. “There was a lot of premeditation, a lot of calculation that went into this.”
At least some of Hassanen’s supporters believe this was a hate crime against a Muslim teenager.
Someone left a small sign at the memorial, next to a cross.
It read simply, “Hate has no home here.”
Obayi Khalib was among 250 people who appeared in court last Friday for a preliminary hearing for Torres.
“We’re all behind the family, honestly,” he says. “The father, no one can feel what he's feeling, no one. it's the worst feeling.”
The packed hearing took a dramatic turn when Mohmod Hassanen lunged toward Torres, shouting “you killed my daughter.”
Nabra Hassanen’s mother, Sawsan Gazzar threw a shoe at the suspect, yelling “You kill her.”
As deputies moved in to restore order, the judge ordered the courtroom cleared, except for family members.
“I was just sad,” Morrogh said, when asked about the case. “They raised two beautiful children, and they’re suffering. They didn’t mean any disrespect to the judge or the process.”
The indictment documents say Torres abducted Hassanen “with the intent to defile.”
Some legal experts caution that the term ‘premeditation’ may not involve long-term planning, but instead, just a brief period of decision.
Masri says whatever is uncovered during trial, she hopes justice will be served.
“A family has suffered in a way unimaginable. That shouldn't happen to anybody,” she says. “We hope… this case will set an example, so that others don’t have to go through this pain.”
Hammed, remembering a kind, well-behaved teenager, says she hopes for that, too.
“She’s very nice, she quiet,” she said softly. “It’s very bad, very bad. She didn’t do anything.”
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Source : http://wjla.com/news/local/what-was-the-motive-in-murder-rape-of-17-year-old-muslim-girl