Bond denied for man in Va. arson, stalking case; new charge due

Kashif Bashir, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2013 shooting of an Alexandria, Virginia, police officer, has been denied bond in Prince William County, where he will stand trial for arson and stalking.

Bashir will also face at least one federal gun charge, according to prosecutors.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Polinske detailed Bashir’s criminal and mental health history, including his release from a mental hospital after being found not guilty by reason of insanity for shooting and grievously wounding Alexandria motorcycle officer Peter Laboy.

In 2018, an Alexandria judge released Bashir from the mental hospital, with conditions.

In the Thursday bond hearing in Prince William County Circuit Court, Polinske alerted Judge Angela Horan that federal prosecutors in Alexandria plan to charge Bashir with the federal charge of buying a silencer after his state charges are resolved.

Bashir’s defense attorney, Che Rogers, requested that he be confined at his parents’ home with GPS monitoring.

Arguing against the request, Polinske recounted Bashir crossing professional boundaries with female mental health providers who were treating him after his release.

Eight months after his release, Bashir was charged with starting a fire and trying to set another at the home of two mental health providers.

One of the providers, Elizabeth Dugan, was the supervisor at the local agency responsible for reporting whether Bashir was compliant with his conditional release, and had been treating him five days a week under a court order.

During the bond hearing, Polinske said a neighbor’s Nest surveillance camera captured Bashir walking up Dugan’s driveway at 4:23 a.m., and caught the corner of her garage on fire 15 minutes later.

Another provider’s husband said she had smelled gasoline on the couple’s vehicle that same day.

After Bashir’s arrest in Prince William County, Polinske said investigators forensically analyzed his computer, and determined he was using tracking software to monitor the movements of a third mental health provider. When investigators checked her car, they learned Bashir had installed a tracking device on her vehicle, without her knowledge.

In further research of Bashir’s computer, Polinske told the judge that Bashir’s Google searches included “how to get a gun in Virginia” and “how to spark gas remotely.”

According to Polinske, Bashir had also done background checks of Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter and the judge in Bashir’s case.

Bashir was indicted on 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 acquitted by reason of insanity.

In summarizing her position that Bashir should not be granted bond, Polinske was adamant that GPS monitoring would not be sufficient.

“The transmitter is not going to protect the public or people in this case. He could walk out the front door, and he wouldn’t need a gun — just a knife or a baseball bat,” Polinske said.

Rogers, Bashir’s defense attorney, had told the judge that his client would take the medication he has been prescribed, and he would stay with his parents in Woodbridge, Virginia.

The judge spent little time detailing her rationale, but told Bashir and his attorney, “I cannot come with a scenario that would protect the public — the motion for bond is denied.”

Horan said the defense can appeal her decision.

Bashir said nothing during the hearing, appearing by video hookup from the county jail.

In February, a court-appointed mental health provider had determined Bashir was competent to stand trial on the stalking and arson counts.

The defense has not indicated whether it will argue Bashir is insane when he goes on trial early next year in Prince William County.

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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