Jason Billingsley, the registered sex offender being sought in the killing of Baltimore tech entrepreneur Pava LaPere — as well as an earlier rape and arson — was taken into custody after 11 p.m. at a train station in Bowie, U.S. Marshals confirmed.
The arrest brings to a close an unsettling few days as new and disturbing details continued to emerge about Billingsley, 32, a convicted felon who was released on Oct. 5, 2022, after more than nine years of incarceration.
LaPere, an admired leader known as a rising star in her field, was found on the roof of her Mount Vernon apartment building late Monday morning. She had been reported missing earlier that day. Her body was partially clothed with signs of blunt-force trauma. Authorities do not believe LaPere knew the suspect.
Even as police identified Billingsley as a suspect and warned that he was a dangerous threat, authorities released few details about his alleged involvement in another crime that had occurred days earlier.
“This individual will kill and he will rape,” acting Police Commissioner Richard Worley said late Tuesday. “He will do anything he can to cause harm. Please be aware of your surroundings.”
On Sept. 19, a man banged on the door of a rooming house in the 800 block of Edmondson Avenue in West Baltimore and identified himself as a maintenance worker. When no one opened up, he kicked in the front door, pointed a gun at two people inside then handcuffed and duct-taped them, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.
Authorities believe Billingsley raped the woman and cut her neck. He doused her and the man with some liquid, then set them on fire, according to the source. The couple survived and were hospitalized along with a child in the house.
A neighbor recalled everyone rushing outside when the fire broke out. The neighbor told The Banner they saw two people put into an ambulance, and the victims were saying they had been tortured.
Latrice Johnson said her 26-year-old son Jonte Gilmore is being treated for burns to his chest, arms and feet. He underwent surgery Wednesday to graft skin from his thighs to other parts of his body.
Johnson said she learned the morning of Sept. 19 that her son was attacked.
She wishes police had done more after the attack to spread the word about Billingsley’s identity.
“That lady’s life could have been saved,” Johnson said.
Police issued a warrant for Billingsley’s arrest last week and identified him as the suspect in the rape and fire. Few details about the crime were released.
Baltimore Police said they will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
In 2015, Billingsley was sentenced to a prison term of 30 years, but was released last fall. Like most states, Maryland allows inmates to earn time off their sentence for good conduct and engaging in work programs, moving up their release date. By October 2022, he earned enough diminution credits to trigger mandatory release after serving about nine years and three months of his 14-year sentence.
This story will be updated.