Man ruled insane in 2013 officer shooting seeks same defense in Va. arson trial

Lawyers for Kashif Bashir, found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2013 shooting of an Alexandria, Virginia, police officer, believe he was insane in 2019 when he is alleged to have stalked and set fire to the home of a mental health provider in Prince William County.

In 2014, Bashir was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting of Alexandria police officer Peter Laboy. In 2018, an Alexandria judge released Bashir with conditions.

Eight months later, Bashir was charged with starting a fire and trying to set another at the homes of two mental health professionals.

Elizabeth Dugan — a supervisor at the Prince William county agency responsible for reporting whether Bashir was complying with his conditional release — had been seeing him five days a week, under a court order.

Bashir’s attorneys filed a motion in the Prince William County Circuit Court on Tuesday asking a judge to grant its Motion for Insanity at the Time of the Offense.

Two weeks ago, Bashir’s competency to stand trial was evaluated by Dr. Sahair Monfared. According to the motion filed by attorneys Mark Crossland and Taso Saunders, the defense believed “his sanity at the time of the offense is still in question.”

While a defendant’s competency to stand trial can shift over time, the determination that a defendant was insane at the time of the crime is a much higher hurdle, requiring the defense to meet several standards of proof.

In Virginia, the defense must state its intent to plead Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity at least 21 days before trial. Bashir’s original trial date was postponed, and a new date has not been determined.

As part of Virginia’s insanity defense protocol, Bashir would be granted an independent mental health evaluator, who would interview him, and provide an opinion as to his sanity. After his arrest for Laboy’s shooting, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Bashir is charged with felony counts of arson, attempted arson, and making a false statement on a consent form to purchase a firearm, as well as nine counts of misdemeanor stalking, unauthorized use of an electronic tracking device, and possession of a firearm by a person acquitted by reason of insanity.

After Bashir’s arrest in Prince William County, Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter filed a motion to revoke Bashir’s conditional release, which remains on hold, as the current case progresses.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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