The convicted sex attacker charged with killing Pava LaPere in Baltimore last week tried to gain entry to her apartment building two days after the tech CEO was brutally murdered.
Police say 26-year-old LaPere was killed Friday evening, although her body was only discovered after someone reported her missing Monday morning.
Suspect Jason Billingsley, 32, was finally taken into custody five days after the crime took place. He is charged with first-degree murder.
The roof where she was found has now been imaged for the first time, along with the narrow ladder shaft the suspected killer is said to have used to gain access.
Jason Billingsley entered Pava LaPere’s ‘secure’ apartment complex on September 22, and three days later her badly beaten body was discovered on the roof
New photos have emerged showing the roof of LaPere’s home where her body was found
The roof is not considered a facility and is only accessible via a narrow shaft
The area is not maintained and is not advertised for use by tenants
It remains unclear whether she was murdered before being dumped on the roof, or whether she was murdered on the roof. Police are remaining tight-lipped about the details of the crime.
LaPere, who founded the tech startup EcoMap Technologies from her dorm room at Johns Hopkins University, died of strangulation and blunt force trauma.
A neighbor in the building now claims that Billingsley returned to the scene two days after the murder and tried to follow her inside.
A neighbor says Jason Billingsley tried to gain entry to Pava LaPere’s building two days after the murder
The neighbor said she felt a “vibration” when she noticed Billingsley and it caused her to pause while entering the building’s access code.
“Look, you know, I wasn’t feeling well. I felt like something was wrong,” the neighbor told NewsNation anonymously last night.
Baltimore police have declined to comment on the report, citing the confidentiality of witness statements.
Surveillance footage shows LaPere arriving home Friday evening and sitting on a couch in the lobby when Billingsley approached the building and motioned her toward the glass door, police said.
Jason Billingsley, 32, was arrested by police Wednesday at a train station about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from where LaPere, 26, was found beaten to death
She opened the door and started talking to him, and they got into the elevator together, according to the warrant.
Billingsley was seen “looking for an exit” less than an hour later and wiped his hand on his shorts before leaving the apartment building, police said.
Earlier Friday evening, LaPere had attended a festival celebrating Baltimore’s arts community.
NewsNation’s Evan Lambert gained access to the roof of the LaPere building on Thursday and reported that the area is not well maintained or easily accessible.
Her neighbor told the network she suspected LaPere liked to spend time there, adding that the roof is always unlocked and unattended.
Access to the roof involves climbing a small ladder and other stairs.
‘Did Pava go there voluntarily? According to the police report, we know she was in the elevator with a suspect who they say killed her. But if she went to the roof voluntarily, you know, it would be very difficult to force or drag anyone up there,” Lambert reported.
Lambert went on to say that by talking to LaPere’s friends and neighbors, the victim trusted and supported people in her community.
“In the way the surveillance video is described, you can almost see the naivety of her to possibly welcome him.”
“We’re not sure at what point it became a violent situation, but at least from the very beginning it raises a lot of questions: did she want to show him the roof, those are all things that the police are currently investigating. ‘ said Lambertus.
Billingsley was arrested Wednesday at 11 p.m. at a train station about 30 miles from where LaPere was found dead.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley denied making a mistake by delaying providing information about Billingsley – whom he labeled a “psychopath” – to the public after the first incident.
LaPere was found dead on the roof of her building, the former site of the Congress Hotel, where one-bedroom apartments rent for $1,500 a month
Authorities confirmed there was “no forced entry” into LaPere’s apartment complex and they “do not know” if there was a previous connection between her and Billingsley
Members of LaPere’s family spoke Wednesday at the vigil in honor of the slain entrepreneur
Police came under repeated fire during Thursday’s press conference for their handling of the investigation, but hit back to defend a barrage of criticism.
Authorities say the September 19 incident was not a random attack and that Billingsley knew the victims. So they did not warn the public about the potential risk because there was no indication that he would commit further crimes.
Police also confirmed he is suspected of stealing a firearm, and told his victim he would be ‘difficult to arrest’.
Billingsley’s mother was among those who urged him to turn himself in after he came to her property with a gun. Authorities also announced a $6,000 reward in the case.
The violent convicted criminal, who was released early from his 30-year sentence for attempted rape, had worked in the building.
He is accused of breaking into the basement apartment and attacking a woman and a man, both 26, while a 5-year-old child was in the building.
Billingsley then raped the woman and set the building on fire, with police linking him to the crime less than 24 hours later.
But Worley claims they did not issue a flyer about the incident because it was not a “random act,” and that they defended the police actions.
“He went to that location for a criminal reason,” he said. “We monitored the suspect, including tracking his phone, financial transactions, social media and his known addresses.
‘In several cases we were able to follow him closely and we postponed the press conference on Monday because we were about 88 meters away from him.
‘But he was able to evade capture. We knew there was a risk that he would go underground if we went public, and that’s exactly what he did.
“The other day the press conference took place and he left the location where a search warrant had been served when he looked at it.”
Despite being followed by officers for three days, he entered LaPere’s “secure” apartment building, where her badly beaten body was discovered on the roof.
Billingsley was followed by police to the MARC train station on Laurel-Bowie Road in Bowie, Prince George’s County, on Wednesday evening.
He was arrested “without incident,” with Worley stating that he was “surrounded by a SWAT team” and cooperating with officers.
The suspected killer was charged with first-degree murder, assault and reckless endangerment in connection with LaPere’s death.
Authorities confirmed there was “no forced entry” into LaPere’s apartment complex and “do not know” if there was a previous connection between her and Billingsley.
Billingsley had complied with his sex offender notification but failed to show up for his scheduled appointment on Monday.
The violent criminal was released in 2022 on ‘good credit’ after being convicted by a judge of attempted rape and given a 30-year prison sentence.