A Northern Virginia man who pleaded guilty to raping and killing a Reston teen in what authorities called a “road rage” attack has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Darwin Martinez-Torres attacked 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen in June 2017 as she was walking back to a mosque with friends after a pre-dawn fast food meal ahead of Ramadan services.
Overall, the Fairfax County judge handed down eight life sentences in Hassanen’s murder, rape and abduction. That’s in line with a plea bargain Martinez-Torres struck last year, which required the judge to impose a sentence of life without parole, in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table.
Martinez-Torres’ defense attorney said Martinez-Torres has a history of abuse and brain injury and is cognitively impaired. The attorney said the Sterling man has apologized and taken responsibility for the crime.
During the sentencing hearing, Hassanen’s family did not speak or offer victim impact statements. As part of the plea bargain, Martinez-Torres agreed to answer any questions from Hassanen’s family.
Hassanen was part of a group of at least a dozen teens walking and riding bicycles back to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque in Sterling from a nearby McDonald’s when Martinez-Torres drove up to the group, got into an argument and eventually got out of his car and chased down and bludgeoned Hassanen with a baseball bat.
Police said he then took her in his car to Loudoun County, where he raped her. After the girl died, he dumped her body in a pond near his home in Sterling, police said.
Outside the Fairfax County courtroom Thursday, Nabra Hassanen’s father, Mohmod Hassanen, told reporters he would always remember his daughter.
The teen’s death received widespread attention amid concerns her slaying was motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. Prosecutors, though, said there was no evidence of a hate crime or that the killing was motivated by race or religion.
Martinez-Torres is a native of El Salvador. Immigration authorities say he was in the country illegally.
Hassanen’s killing prompted a series of nationwide vigils.
On what would have been Hassanen’s 18th birthday last spring, family and friends hosted a charity event that put together care packages for the homeless in D.C., which they said reflected her generous spirit.
(The Associated Press and Megan Cloherty contributed to this report).