Man Suspected of Killing Muslim Teen May Face Death Penalty - NBC Bay Area
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Man Suspected of Killing Muslim Teen May Face Death Penalty

The indictment is the first indication that authorities believe Nabra Hassanen was raped

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    News4's David Culver is outside the courthouse where protesters have gathered and emotion overflowed in response to the killing of Nabra Hassanen. (Published Monday, Oct. 16, 2017)

    The man suspected of killing a Muslim teenage girl as she headed to a mosque in Virginia this summer may face the death penalty. 

    Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Morrogh told News4 he will seek the death penalty against Darwin Martinez Torres. 

    A grand jury indicted Torres on capital murder and rape charges on Monday in the killing of Nabra Hassanen. The 17-year-old high school student's death has rattled Muslim communities in northern Virginia and across the country.

    Virginia state law allows prosecutors to pursue a death penalty under certain conditions, including premeditated murder during a rape.

    The indictment is the first indication that authorities believe Nabra Hassanen was raped.

    Virginia law allows prosecutors to pursue a death penalty case only under certain conditions. Those include murder in the commission of a rape and murder during an abduction with intent to defile. 

    The seven-count indictment handed up Monday includes four counts of capital murder, with occasionally graphic detail on the ways in which prosecutors believe the slaying qualifies for the death penalty.

    Police say Martinez Torres encountered Hassanen among a group of teenagers in Sterling, Virginia, as they walked from a mosque in June for a service. Authorities say Martinez Torres got into a confrontation with some of the teens, and chased them. Police say Martinez Torres caught Hassanen and bludgeoned her with a bat. A search warrant says he then dumped her body in a lake.

    Torres was charged with murder but not a hate crime. Prosecutors say he lashed out in a case of road rage.

    In a search warrant affidavit, police say Martinez-Torres admitted killing Nabra and that he led them to where he had dumped her body in a nearby pond.

    On Friday, Hassanen's devastated parents interrupted court proceedings

    "You killed my daughter!" Nabra Hassanen's father shouted. He stood on a courtroom bench and lunged at the accused in a packed courtroom.

    Hassanen's mother hurled a shoe at Torres from across the courtroom and screamed "I kill you!"