New details emerge about the slaying of beloved Baltimore tech CEO and the suspect in her killing

Baltimore police continue to search for an “extremely dangerous” man suspected of murdering 26-year-old tech CEO Pava LaPere, who was found dead in an apartment building on September 25.
(CNN) — Just moments before police believe Baltimore tech executive Pava LaPere was killed, surveillance footage captured her alleged attacker following her into the elevator of her apartment building where her body would be discovered on the roof days later, court documents say.

The documents shed new light on an alleged Friday night interaction between LaPere and the man accused of killing her, Jason Dean Billingsley – a convicted sex offender who was already being sought by police as the suspect in a rape, arson and attempted murder days earlier.

LaPere, CEO and co-founder of the small startup EcoMap Technologies, likely died Friday, police said, but her body wasn’t discovered until Monday.

On Friday, Billingsley was captured on video following LaPere as she walked home, law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation told CNN. LaPere did not seem to notice the suspect, who kept a distance from her, they said.

LaPere entered her apartment building’s lobby but returned to the front door after she saw a man, later identified as Billingsley, waving at her through the glass, a statement of charges obtained by CNN affiliate WJZ says, citing surveillance footage.

Billingsley appeared as though he was having trouble getting into the building – as if he had forgotten his keys, the sources said.

LaPere opened the door and let Billingsley in, according to the document. The two can be seen on video having a conversation before getting into an elevator together, it says.

Later, the suspect is seen coming back into the lobby through a stairwell, “scrambling for an exit” and wiping his hand on his shorts, the document says.

About 40 minutes passed between when Billingsley followed LaPere into the elevator and when he left the building, the sources said.

When her body was discovered on the rooftop on Monday, police found several items scattered across the scene, including a pair of red shoes believed to be LaPere’s, the document said. She died of blunt force trauma and strangulation, it said.

After a dayslong manhunt, Billingsley was arrested Wednesday at a train station in Bowie, Maryland, about 25 miles from downtown Baltimore.

CNN has not been able to determine if Billingsley has an attorney.

A judge in Baltimore on Friday ordered Billingsley to remain in jail without bail, citing his criminal history and saying he is a flight risk, according to CNN affiliate WJZ.

Billingsley has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, and other charges, in LaPere’s death, Maryland court records show. He is also facing first-degree attempted murder, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree rape, second-degree rape and first-degree arson for a September 19 incident on Edmondson Avenue – about a mile from where LaPere’s body was found days later.

Police were already searching for the suspect

Investigators don’t know of any connection between LaPere and Billingsley, but said they believe he knew the victims he’s accused of attacking days before LaPere was killed.

Billingsley allegedly raped a woman before setting her and her boyfriend on fire, according to a statement of charges document obtained by WJZ.

“We have information to believe that the victims … were targeted by the suspect – that the suspect knew the victims and he went into that location for a criminal reason,” acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said of the September 19 attack, which occurred at a residence about a mile from LaPere’s apartment.

Critics have scrutinized police for not to notifying the public when they were initially searching for Billingsley, but Worley defended the decision, saying detectives believed at the time that it had been an isolated, targeted attack.

“The first incident on Edmondson Avenue was not a random act. Had it been a random act, we would have put out a flier right away, saying this individual was on the loose, committing random acts,” Worley said.

Investigators had been tracking Billingsley and didn’t want to issue a flier too soon, which could prompt the suspect to flee, Worley said.

Despite police tracking him, Billingsley was able to evade arrest because investigators “never got close enough,” Worley said.

“As soon as we realized he had committed an act that seemed to be random … we put the flier out,” Worley said. “And just as we thought, as soon as he saw the flier, he tried to elude capture and turned off all devices we were able to track him on.”

Police announced their search for Billingsley on Tuesday and emphasized that the suspect should be considered extremely dangerous, citing his criminal record.

Billingsley pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in 2009 and second-degree assault in 2011, according to court records.

Most recently, Billingsley was convicted of a first-degree sex offense in 2015 and sentenced to 30 years in prison (with 16 months already served), the records show.

But he was released from prison in October 2022, after serving about seven years. His release was not parole, but rather “on mandatory supervision as required by statute,” a spokesperson for Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services told The New York Times.

Since his release from prison last year, Billingsley has been registered as a sex offender in Maryland’s statewide database.

Detectives have begun to sift through the city’s cases dating back to October 2022 to determine whether Billingsley may be connected to any other incidents since his release, police said.

Meanwhile, LaPere’s family expressed appreciation for law enforcement’s efforts to arrest Billingsley.

“We’re relieved to know he can no longer hurt other innocent victims. While this doesn’t change that Baltimore lost one of its most passionate, influential fans, our efforts remain focused on remembering and celebrating Pava Marie – her life, successes, and legacy,” the family said in a statement Thursday.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up