Man sentenced for murder of Va. college student

WASHINGTON — A Fredericksburg, Virginia, man will spend the rest of his life in prison for his role in the 2015 death of a Fairfax County woman who was his University of Mary Washington roommate.

On Tuesday, a judge sentenced 31-year-old Steven Vander Briel to life in prison plus an additional 11 years for the murder of Grace Mann, 20.

On April 17, 2015, Mann was found bound, gagged and strangled in the off-campus group home the students shared.

Vander Briel was charged with first-degree murder. Of the 11-year sentence, six years are for the abduction charge and five years are for the strangulation charge.

Two of the other roommates who lived with Vander Briel and Mann testified that they spoke with Vander Briel face-to-face shortly before they discovered Mann’s body, and that he appeared anxious and drenched in sweat.

Vander Briel had a reputation around campus as a mellow and friendly man.

Vander Briel twice dropped out of Mary Washington. On this third try, the political science student was two classes shy of graduating when he was arrested in April.

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Sarah Beth Hensley

Sarah Beth Hensley is the Digital News Director at WTOP. She has worked several different roles since she began with WTOP in 2013 and has contributed to award-winning stories and coverage on the website.

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