Laken Riley Murder Suspect Indicted on 10 Charges

Jose Ibarra was allegedly a 'peeping Tom' on another student earlier
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2024 9:00 AM CDT
Laken Riley Murder Suspect Allegedly Spied on Another
This undated image provided by Augusta University shows Laken Hope Riley.   (Augusta University via AP, File)

The man accused of killing nursing student Laken Riley on the University of Georgia campus in February was spotted peering through the window of a UGA student shortly before the murder. That's according to an indictment filed Tuesday against Jose Antonio Ibarra, a 26-year-old citizen of Venezuela who entered the US illegally near El Paso, Texas, in 2022, per NBC News. It lays out 10 charges, including three counts of felony murder (one for each underlying felony that allegedly caused the death) and one count each of malice murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault with intent to rape, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call, tampering with evidence, and being a "peeping Tom."

A 24-year-old UGA student had reported a suspicious man outside her campus apartment around 8am on Feb. 22. The indictment claims Ibarra went to the property "for the purpose of becoming a peeping Tom" and "did peep through the window and spied upon and invaded the privacy of [the woman]," per the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Riley was found dead a mile and a half from the apartment around 1pm that day after she failed to return from a morning run. Riley had graduated from UGA in the spring of 2023 but remained close to campus while attending Augusta University's nursing program.

The indictment marks the first reference to Ibarra's alleged intent to rape her. It claims he pulled up pieces of Riley's clothing "with the intent to have carnal knowledge of her forcibly and against her will." Ibarra then killed the 22-year-old "by seriously disfiguring her head by striking her head multiple times with a rock," according to the document. He's also accused of concealing a jacket and gloves he'd been wearing at the time. Authorities say it was a "crime of opportunity." Ibarra lived on the edge of the campus park in which Riley was running, just a five-minute walk from where her body was found, per Fox News. He's been held in Clarke County jail since his February arrest. (More Laken Riley stories.)

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