Man extradited from Ethiopia, charged with 2 Fairfax Co. homicides

A 24-year-old man is back in Fairfax County, Virginia, to face charges in two separate 2016 homicides.

Fairfax County police, FBI and Justice Department authorities jointly announced Monday morning that Yohannes Nessibu had been extradited from Ethiopia, where he allegedly fled after the killings of Henok G. Yohannes, 22, who was found dead in his home in Springfield on the night of Dec. 22, 2016, Kedest Sileshi Simeneh, 22, of Springfield, who was found dead in a backyard in Burke the next morning. Both victims had gunshot wounds to their upper bodies, the police said.

Nessibu has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. He returned to the U.S. after a 14-hour flight on Friday, May 3, said Major Ed O’Carroll, commander of the Fairfax County Police Department’s Major Crimes Bureau.

“After two years and nearly six months, justice day has arrived,” O’Carroll said, adding that efforts to bring Nessibu into custody “literally spanned the globe.”

He added that the killings were “related and not random,” and that “the arrested knew the two victims in this case.” Later, the police said in a statement that the victims were “associates” of Nessibu’s.

By the time detectives established Nessibu as a suspect, O’Carroll said, Nessibu was “wheels up” on his way out of the U.S.

Nessibu was indicted in the deaths in March 2017, at which point a “long series of negotiations and legal wrangling” began, said Commonweath’s Attorney Ed Morrogh. He was taken into custody in Ethiopia in February of this year, the police said in the statement, and sent to Fairfax County on Friday.

All the officials gathered on Monday praised the cooperation and assistance of Ethiopian authorities. Vaughn Ary, of the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, expressed his “gratitiude” to the Ethiopian Ethiopian Security Service, federal police and attorney general, and added that “We have to work through U.S. law and Ethiopian law” in a case such as this.

Morrogh added that extradition is a “cumbersome and complex process,” with some “very complex issues involved.” He said that he “cannot rule out further investigation” as to whether anyone helped Nessibu hide in Ethiopia.

Morrogh thanked the victims’ families for “their patience with us,” while O’Carroll said to all the officers who helped in the process, “Know that you did it for the families, and for justice everywhere.”

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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