Lawyer exits in trials of man ruled insane in 2013 shooting of Va. officer

Kashif Bashir — who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2013 shooting of an Alexandria, Virginia, police officer — will not stand trial next week in Prince William County in connection to his arrests for arson and stalking.

Bashir appeared in court Friday with new attorney Mark Crossland, since Circuit Court Judge Kimberly Irving granted Bashir’s previous attorney, Paul Walla, motion to withdraw from Bashir’s two upcoming trials.

In a recent motion, Walla requested permission to pull out of the case “due to ethical conflicts that have arisen due to the identity of the victims and Commonwealth witnesses with who counsel has had ongoing professional relationships.”

The filings do not specify why or how the defense determined the victims and witnesses pose a conflict in Bashir’s case.

Bashir was scheduled to stand trial Nov. 18 on a felony charge of making a false statement on a consent form to purchase a firearm and a misdemeanor count of possession of a firearm by a person acquitted by reason of insanity.

Judge Irving postponed the trial and ordered Bashir and his new attorney to return to court in one week for a status hearing.

In February 2020, Bashir will stand trial on felony charges of arson and attempted arson, as well as nine counts of misdemeanor stalking, and unauthorized use of an electronic tracking device.

In 2014, Bashir had been found not guilty by reason of insanity for the February 2013 shooting of Alexandria police officer Peter Laboy, who was assisting a young woman being stalked by Bashir. Laboy nearly died from his brain injuries, and was forced to retire.

In June 2018, Alexandria Circuit Court Judge James Clark released Bashir, with conditions, from the mental hospital where he’d been living since being acquitted.

Eight months later, in February 2019, Bashir was accused of setting one fire and trying to set another at the homes of two mental health professionals. One of them, Elizabeth Dugan, is a supervisor of a county government board responsible for reporting on whether Bashir was complying with his conditional release and had been seeing him five times a week under a court order.

After his arrest in Prince William County, Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter filed a motion to revoke Bashir’s conditional release. That case is on hold as the Prince William County cases proceed.

Also, recently filed court records reveal details of the prosecution’s evidence against Bashir.

In a motion, senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney Claiborne Richardson included a laboratory report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The report detailed two 9mm Smith & Wesson pistols recovered from Bashir’s home, along with silencers and ammunition.

According to the ATF analysis, the likelihood that DNA recovered from the barrel of one pistol belonged to a male other than Bashir is less than one in one trillion.

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