Va. man who murdered co-worker over stolen food is sentenced to 70 years

A man who brutally killed a co-worker over a lunch stolen from the office fridge in Fairfax County, Virginia, will spend the next 70 years in prison. The sentencing was announced Tuesday.

During his sentencing hearing, 25-year-old Bazen Berhe, of Alexandria, threatened to kill or hurt other people if he wasn’t given the harshest possible sentence.

In response, the judge sentenced him to 100 years with 30 years suspended for first-degree murder.

“In this case, because of the unique and self-proclaimed danger the defendant continues to pose to the community, today’s sentence was a necessary outcome for maintaining public safety,” Commonweath’s Attorney Steve Descano said in a statement.

On Apr. 14, 2021, 58-year-old Hernan Leiva took Berhe’s lunch from the office fridge at the Virginia Target they both worked at.

The next day, Berhe bought a hammer and two knives from the Target and spent a day “training for the murder,” according to Berhe.

On Apr. 17, Behre showed up to work in the early morning hours, waiting in the employee parking for Leiva to arrive.

When Leiva showed up, Berhe stabbed and bludgeoned him to death with the hammer, and then ran away.

Berhe confessed to the crime immediately to police and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in October 2023.

“Mr. Leiva’s unnecessary and tragic death leaves behind a grieving family and community, one that will never be the same after such a senseless act of violence,” Descano said.

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Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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