A woman and man who survived a brutal assault in a West Baltimore apartment last fall are suing the convicted sex offender whom police say attacked them, as well as the landlord and property management company that oversaw the home where the attack occurred.

April Hurley was sexually assaulted, cut in the neck and set on fire while subleasing a rented room on Edmondson Avenue in September 2023, authorities say. She and Jonte Gilmore, who was also held captive during the attack, have sued Jason Billingsley, the man who was hired by the property companies for maintenance work, according to the suit.

Police said the attacker is Billingsley, a convicted a sex offender who is also charged in the murder of tech CEO Pava LaPere.

The complaint, filed Monday in Baltimore City Circuit Court by attorneys with the law firm of Murphy, Falcon and Murphy, accuses Eden’s Homes and Property Pals of negligence, premise liability and a breach of lease. It also accuses Billingsley, 32, of Sandtown-Winchester, of battery, assault and false imprisonment.

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“If Eden’s Homes and Property Pals cared to take the time to look into his background, they would never and should never have let someone with that record — with that known propensity for violence — to be in someone’s private space, in their residence and to have access to their home,” attorney Malcolm Ruff said during a press conference in downtown Baltimore.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages for Hurley and Gilmore, who was assaulted alongside Hurley last September, in an amount in excess of $75,000 for each count.

Hurley said it’s miracle that she’s still alive. “This could have been prevented and he would’ve never had the chance if these people, my former landlord and property manager, did not hire him,” she said at the press conference.

In a previous interview with The Baltimore Banner, Hurley recounted her recovery since the attack. On Monday, Ruff said Hurley “had been living her best life. And then it was all turned upside down because of negligence, because of apathy … and because no one’s taking the time or care to ensure that he [Billingsley] didn’t have access to her most private place.”

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Police arrested Billingsley on Sept. 30, 2023, eight days after LaPere was killed and 11 days after Hurley was attacked.

Billingsley faces multiple criminal charges in the attack on Hurley and Gilmore, including attempted first- and second-degree murder, home invasion, arson and related offenses. Billingsley is also charged with first-degree murder in the death of LaPere, who started EcoMap Technologies as a student at Johns Hopkins University. He’s also facing a charge of failing to register as a sex offender.

Billingsley is currently being held without bail and is scheduled for a three-week trial starting on Aug. 26.

Andrew O’Connell, a partner at Murphy also representing Hurley, said the lawsuit underscores the violent, senseless acts committed, as well as negligent hiring practices.

“Their failure to vet Jason Billingsley has led to an egregious breach of security and an unimaginable, unimaginable nightmare for Ms. Hurley and Mr. Gilmore. … They not only endangered the safety of our clients, but also shattered the tranquility of what it means to be home,” O’Connell said.

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O’Connell said the firm has worked for decades to support returning citizens into society. Even with Baltimore’s Ban the Box legislation, which makes it illegal for employers to conduct criminal record checks on potential employees, O’Connell said an “adequate” background check could still be executed — especially when an individual is given access to a home.

Eden’s Homes and Property Pals didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

In the wake of the attacks on Hurley and LaPere, Maryland lawmakers introduced legislation that would put restrictions on the ability of some sex offenders to earn time off of their sentences, under the the Pava Marie LaPere Act.

In 2015, Billingsley pleaded guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court to a first-degree sex offense and received a 30-year prison sentence, with all but 14 years suspended, plus five years’ probation. He accumulated enough good-time credits to be released in 2022.

In a separate case, Billingsley faces charges in Baltimore County Circuit Court, including for illegal possession of a regulated firearm and theft.

Jason Rodriguez, a public defender with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender who is representing Billingsley, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Penelope Blackwell is a Breaking News reporter with The Banner. Previously, she covered local government in Durham, NC, for The News & Observer. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Morgan State University and her master’s in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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