The man police say murdered Nabra Hassanen in June will face charges of capital murder and rape, the Associated Press reports. According to the AP, the grand jury ruling against 22-year-old Darwin Martinez-Torres in Fairfax County Circuit Court came down today.
A capital murder charge can be punishable by death. Virginia state code allows prosecutors to pursue a death penalty under certain conditions, including premeditated murder during a rape. The county’s prosecutor indicates that he will seek the death penalty in the case.
Hassanen was part of a large group of teenagers walking and biking on Dranesville Road at about 3:40 a.m. Sunday, June 18 after a Ramadan service at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society. The suspect allegedly approached the group in a car and argued with a teenage boy. The group scattered, but police say Martinez-Torres caught up a short time later armed with a baseball bat. Hassanen was struck and taken in the car. Her body was discovered later that day in a Sterling pond.
Days after Hassanen’s death, Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler said the possibility of sexual assault during the attack was being investigated. Monday’s grand jury ruling, however, is the first official indication that it is believed a rape was committed.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer was lodged against Martinez-Torres immediately following his arrest. The 22-year-old native of El Salvador was living in Sterling illegally. While rumors circulated that he is a member of the gang MS-13, FCPD has said there is “no credible information” pointing to that.
Police say Martinez-Torres committed the crime as part of an extreme case of road rage. Members of the community, including Hassanen’s friends and family, have suggested the crime was fueled by a bias against Muslims.
A vigil at Lake Anne Plaza in honor of Hassanen, just days after her death, drew thousands of mourners.
A preliminary hearing for Martinez-Torres last week was disrupted when Hassanen’s parents began shouting at the suspect and threatening him. The suspect ultimately waived his right to the hearing, allowing the case to proceed without further delay.
At its meeting tonight (agenda), Reston’s Planning & Zoning Committee will hear presentations on three major upcoming projects.
Two projects are scheduled to be voted upon at the meeting:
- Renaissance Centro 1801 LLC — Currently the 1.51-acre home of a three-story office building, 1801 Old Reston Ave. has been proposed by property owner Renaissance Centro as the site of a 20-story high rise with up to 150 living units. Of those units, 126 would be market-rate and 24 would be workforce dwelling. This project has a Dec. 6 hearing scheduled with the Fairfax County Planning Commission.
- Kensington Senior Development LLC — Currently the home of Good Beginnings School, 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive is proposed as the new home of a senior-living facility. The 65,000-square-foot building would include 96 beds within 70 units. This project has a Nov. 30 hearing scheduled with the Fairfax County Planning Commission.
The committee is also scheduled to hear an informational presentation on the CRS Sunset Hills LC project. Comstock Partners plans to convert the Sunset Hills Professional Center, a one-story office condo complex at Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue, into a mixed-use development featuring approximately 460 residential units and 40,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The project would also include two parcels to the east, known as the “Kfoury Parcels,” which would be developed to add approximately 300,000 square feet of office uses. Comstock also plans for an approximately 400,000-square-foot full-service hotel and 80 high-end residential units on another adjacent property. In total, the planned project includes about 1.24 million square feet of proposed redevelopment, exclusive of affordable-housing provision bonuses.
That project does not yet have a county hearing scheduled.
Tonight’s Reston P&Z Committee meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).
File image of 1801 Old Reston Ave.
According to its Facebook page, the former Bike Lane Brewing in Loudoun County has changed its name.
The brewery (101 Loudoun St. SE, Leesburg), which was challenged by The Bike Lane in Reston for having a similar name, will now be known as Bike TrAle Brewing. In addition, its scheduled opening date has been pushed back a week to Oct. 28 to accommodate for the change.
Earlier this month, the owners of The Bike Lane (11943 Democracy Drive) announced they would seek legal action to bar the brewery from using its originally planned name.
“We feel that having a business named so similar and located on the same trail (the W&OD), only a few miles away, will confuse both our current and future customers,” wrote co-owners Anne and Todd Mader in a letter to customers. “This company has refused to change their name, so we are left with no other option than to ask the courts to have them change their name.”
The brewery’s location is about 1/4-mile from where the W&OD Trail crosses King Street in Leesburg. Its Facebook page was updated Saturday announcing the name change.
The Bike Lane, which has announced it will soon leave Reston Town Center, plans to stay near the W&OD Trail in Reston when it moves. As part of the move, the Maders say, they will expand to include their own micro-brewery and coffee house. This further complicated matters with the new Leesburg brewery, they say.
Bike TrAle Brewing co-owner Greg Perlberg previously told Reston Now that The Bike Lane had been threatening his business with legal action for months, and that he was not “cordially asked” to change the name as the Maders asserted in their letter.
Perlberg applied for a trademark to the name “Bike Lane Brewing” in July 2016. The Bike Lane, which also operates a shop in Springfield, is trademarked under the name Fairfax Cyclery Inc. t/a The Bike Lane.
Saturday, downtown Herndon celebrated its community with its annual homecoming parade.
The parade, which traversed Elden and Lynn streets in the town, featured nearly 1,300 participants in 51 units. Athletes, bands, clubs, performers, scouts, politicians, businesses, community groups and Herndon High School’s Homecoming Court were among the participants.
The theme of the parade was “Across the World,” and included a salute to nations that have hosted the Olympics.
According to the Town of Herndon website, highlights of the parade included the St. Joseph’s School cheerleaders; Herndon High School’s cheerleading, dance and step teams; HHS NJROTC; HHS Best Buddies; Hutchison Elementary students; Herndon-Reston softball; JamBrew with JUXT; and the Class of 1987 riding Herndon’s retired 1955 GMC American pumper truck.
Dignitaries at the event included Mayor Lisa Merkel; Vice Mayor Jen Baker; councilmembers Grace Wolf Cunningham, Jeff Davidson, Signe Friedrichs, Bill McKenna and Sheila Olem; Herndon Police Department’s Capt. Brad Anzengruber; and Herndon High School Principal Dr. Liz Noto.
Trophies were presented to the first- and second-place winners in the Civic, Performing Arts, School, Show and Class Float categories. Judges also selected the Richard F. Downer theme award and the Major Robert C. Church Best in Parade winners.
First Place – Girl Scouts of Herndon
Second Place – Cub Scout Pack #1570
Performing Arts Group
First Place – Herndon Middle School Step Team
Second Place – Percussion Works
First Place – Herndon Elementary
Second Place – Dranesville Elementary School
First Place – Herndon Optimists Youth Sports
Second Place – Herndon Woman’s Club, Wreaths Across America
First Place – Herndon High School Class of 2019
Second Place – Herndon High School Class of 2018
Richard F. Downer Theme Award – Clearview Elementary 6th grade
Major Robert C. Church Award – Best in Parade – Pride of Herndon, Herndon High School Band
More photos from the event can be found on the Herndon Homecoming Parade Facebook page.
Images via Karl Haase/Facebook
Biden Stumps for Northam in Reston — During a roundtable discussion Saturday in Reston Town Center along with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, the former Vice President emphasized the importance of state politics at a time when he said the federal government has faltered in its responsibilities. Current Vice President Mike Pence was also in Virginia on Saturday, joining Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie on the campaign trail in Abingdon. [The Hill]
‘Light the Night’ Raises Funds for Leukemia Research — The walk Friday night at Reston Town Center was part of a campaign expected to raise $3 million in the fight against blood cancers. [FOX5]
County’s Earners On Par with Manhattan’s, Nation’s Wealthiest — Forbes magazine analyzed U.S. Census data to determine where the highest wage-earners in the nation live. Fairfax County tied with Manhattan for the highest percentage of resident full-time workers making over $75,000, at 49.2 percent. [Forbes]
Police Auditor, Review Panel Taking Complaints — Use of excessive force, abusive language, harassment, reckless endangerment and more concerns about Fairfax County police officers can now be submitted using an online form. [Fairfax County]
King Gets on the Stat Sheet — The Cleveland Browns fell to 0-6 on the season with a 33-17 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday, but South Lakes High School football alumnus Deon King did get on the stat sheet. Playing on special teams, King recorded a tackle of Texans’ punt returner Will Fuller V in the third quarter of the game. [ESPN]
People gather outside the court house chanting "justice for Nabra." @WTOP pic.twitter.com/sHER1kDXBS
— Mike Murillo (@MikeMurilloWTOP) October 13, 2017
(This article was updated at 2:50 p.m. following the conclusion of the hearing.)
A preliminary hearing in a Fairfax County court Friday afternoon for the suspect in the June murder of Nabra Hassanen was disrupted when her family’s anger boiled over.
The hearing was briefly halted after disruptions and outbursts directed toward the suspect, 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres, which included Hassanen’s father shouting “You killed my daughter!” and lunging toward the suspect. Hassanen’s mother also threatened and threw a shoe at the man.
BREAKING: Nabra Hassanen's mom yelled at defendant "I kill you" before throwing shoe. Hearing will resume soon w only family in courtroom.
— justin jouvenal (@jjouvenal) October 13, 2017
Fairfax County deputies rushed into the crowded courtroom to maintain order, while the judge and Torres were ushered out of the room for safety.
At least five people were individually removed from the courtroom, WTOP reporter Mike Murillo reported, for their outbursts. Two, including Hassanen’s father, were forcibly removed by guards. The hundreds in attendance, many of whom were wearing “Justice for Nabra” T-shirts, were then all ordered out of the courtroom. The hearing was moved to a smaller courtroom and made private.
No cameras were allowed in either courtroom.
Torres, who faces a second-degree murder charge, ultimately waived his right to the preliminary hearing. That means the case is cleared to advance to trial.
A 36-year-old Herndon man was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges of threatening to murder officials, officers and employees of the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. State Department, as well as Virginia law enforcement officers.
William Lewis Weaver II is charged with two counts of threatening to assault and murder federal officials, officers and employees, as well as three counts of transmitting in interstate commerce a communication containing threats to injure the person of another. The indictment alleges that between Aug. 23 and Sept. 16, Weaver used a Twitter account to post tweets that threatened to murder a number of government officials, including specific threats involving bombs and a shotgun.
According to the affidavit (read in full), officers from the Herndon Police Department visited Weaver at his residence at least twice to ask him about his tweets.
Records received from CIA’s police department, which has law enforcement authority with respect to its facilities, indicate that on or before June 17, 2017, @WillWeaver2 posted at least one tweet that was directed at the CIA and the National Security Agency. The communication(s) was/were concerning in nature and resulted in the City of Herndon Police Department conducting a welfare check of WEAVER at his residence in Herndon, Virginia. During this meeting, WEAVER did not deny that he owns or controls @WillWeaver2, indicated that he had been intoxicated when he posted the tweet(s) in question, and did not intend to hurt anyone unless they came to his house.
The U.S. Department of State says Weaver had applied for a passport twice since February 2016, and was denied each time. One of his tweets in question read: “@StateDept You have about 2 weeks 2 get my passport 2 me before the devices set off and the shotgun blasts start. Tick-tock goes the clock.”
Other tweets that sparked investigation were directed toward the CIA, including two on the same day that read “Logic continues to dictate that bombing the cia, and shotgunning them as they line up outside the gate at work in the morn is my conclusion” and “They all line up at those gates like ducks at the county fair shooting gallery, haha. All that evil just a few shotgun blasts away from gone.”
After a federal officer visited Weaver’s home on Sept. 14, he posted a series of expletive-laden tweets over two days that included threats toward the CIA, NSA, police and military. He also allegedly visited a store in Sterling on Sept. 15 and attempted to purchase a shotgun and ammunition, which he tweeted would be for “home defence” because he “can’t trust police anymore.”
Weaver’s Twitter account has since been suspended.
Golf Fundraiser Pays Legal Fees in Open Space Fight — Rescue Reston’s recent event at Reston National Golf Course raised money to go toward paying off the $153,000 in legal fees the group has incurred fighting its battle to protect the course from development. [Connection Newspapers]
County Celebrates High-Rise Construction Safety — “The cranes in Reston and Tysons are the most dramatic sign that parts of our county are changing into a more urban environment. Before these new high-rise buildings are built, years of planning go into making sure they are safe for the occupants and the community.” [Fairfax County]
Firefighters Support Breast Cancer Awareness — In an effort to heighten awareness in the fight against breast cancer, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department employees have been authorized to wear FRD-issued pink T-shirts while on duty from Oct. 9-23. The shirts are worn as a symbol of support and recognition for all those who have been touched by breast cancer. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Preparedness Event Slated for Saturday — The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management is partnering with numerous county agencies and other partners, such as the American Red Cross, to host a Preparedness Awareness Weekend (PAW) event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Providence Community Center (3001 Vaden Drive, Fairfax). [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
Digital-Media Company Moves Into New Town Center Home — Intermarkets, a Reston-based digital-media company whose portfolio includes The Drudge Report and The Political Insider, is now headquartered on the 11th floor of Reston Town Center’s One Freedom Square. [Virginia Business]
At its meeting Tuesday night (agenda), Reston’s Design Review Board will discuss specific plans for the residential and commercial aspects of the upcoming Tall Oaks Village Center redevelopment.
The project was last brought before the DRB in August, at which time the general landscape and architecture plans for the project were approved. Next week, the developers will be looking for approval of several other aspects of the plans, including the final landscape plan, the comprehensive sign plan, the lighting plan and material specifications.
Included in the final landscape plans is exercise and playground equipment, as well as a putting green. Site furnishings up for discussion include artistic bike racks and custom bus shelters. Three entry signs and a directional sign will be considered as well.
See the full residential presentation from applicant Jefferson Apartment Group and architect KTGY here.
The redevelopment plans call for 156 homes (a mix of townhomes, 2-over-2 townhomes and multifamily buildings), community space, 8,500 square foot of retail and about 6,000 square feet of office space. The end result will be the first such overhaul of one of Reston’s original village centers.
The 70,000-square-foot center was 86 percent empty by the time the redevelopment was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in July 2016. Jefferson had conducted a market study that showed attracting a new retail anchor was not an option.
An approved plan for massive development of the Commerce Executive Park near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station may be at a fork in the road, the Washington Business Journal reports.
According to the WBJ, JBG Smith is marketing the 12-acre property Commerce Executive Park to prospective buyers. JBG Smith took ownership of the property — south of the Dulles Toll Road and at the northwest corner of the Sunrise Valley Drive/Wiehle Avenue intersection — from Vornado Realty Trust earlier this year as part of the recent merger of JBG Cos. and Vornado’s D.C. business unit, Charles E. Smith.
The three existing six-story office buildings would remain in the redevelopment plan, but the rest would be transformed into a live-work-dine-shop destination for those who want to be close to Metro and Reston’s busy business corridor. The new buildup would include towering buildings that would be among the tallest in Reston:
- a 22-story, 275-foot-tall office building
- a 24-story, 255-foot-tall residential building with up to 300 dwelling units
- a 14-story, 165-foot-tall hotel with 175 rooms
- a 7-story, 100-foot-tall residential building with up to 200 dwelling units
The plans also include a total of 1.5 acres of open space, with small parks, bicycle tracks and a promenade along the businesses, and would feature public art including a water feature.
According to the WBJ report, the fact that CBRE is marketing the properties for JBG Smith doesn’t necessarily mean a sale is imminent or will even happen at all.
New residents are beginning to move into Aperture (11410 Reston Station Blvd.), which is described as “not just an apartment building, but an artistic expression.”
Mike Henehan, senior vice president of Bozzuto Development Company, said the leasing process began last month and about 14 units in the 421-unit building are being moved into already. The finishing touches are being put on the building, with hopes for hundreds more residents moving in during the coming months.
“We didn’t want to do another high-rise — we wanted to do something that was a little cool,” said Reston developer Chuck Veatch, who has owned the property since 1978. It was previously the home of a mini-storage facility and retail strip center. “One of the things that we talked about was tying it in with a lot of art and a lot of photography.”
Veatch, who came to Reston in 1964 and was involved in its original development, is also chairman of the board and contributing editor for Nature’s Best Photography magazine. With that in mind, the building features the overarching theme of nature photography, with numerous stunning photos out of the Nature’s Best archives displayed throughout.
“We gave [the design team] all of the winners that have been in our exhibits down at the Smithsonian, and they went through and decided what they wanted to use in the building,” Veatch said. “The corridors all have Nature’s Best photography in them, and what they did was pick a theme for each floor.”
Sculptor Zachary Oxman also has works displayed inside and outside the building, including the 11-foot-tall “Convergence” that was unveiled last month. Architecture firm KTGY designed the building, and its interior design was envisioned by award-winning designer Rebecca Jones.
The building offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom dwelling units. There are three courtyards, with amenities including a saltwater pool, outdoor cooking stations, a pet-play area and more. Also included are a full gym, an extensive lounge area, a library and other features.
Orangetheory Fitness will soon open as Aperture’s first retail tenant. Veatch said a second retailer, which will be a restaurant, is in the works.
The goal is to cultivate a sense of camaraderie among residents, Veatch said.
“We want Aperture to be a place, a community,” he said. “There will be a lot of programming and all kinds of cool stuff here for people to do.”
Aperture residents will also be part of a larger community, as members of Reston Association.
Tours of Aperture will be included as part of the Reston Home Tour, taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Prospective residents are also invited to schedule their own visit to learn more.
Public Meeting Tonight on Unfunded Transportation Projects — Fairfax County Department of Transportation officials are seeking public input on nearly 300 transportation projects that are vying for roughly $100 million in funding. Local residents can provide feedback on proposed projects at a public meeting tonight from 7-9 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). The meeting will include a formal presentation about unfunded projects and a question-and-answer session. [Reston Now]
Be Alert for Deer on Roadways — Police are urging residents to be alert and aware of the potential for deer to dart into the road in front of their vehicles. About half of all deer-vehicle collisions occur during the months of October, November and December, they say. [Fairfax County Police Department]
County Rape Suspect Arrested in West Virginia — Eusebio Romero-Rivera, 48, is believed to have fled the state after a warrant was issued for his arrest on a charge of raping an adult family member in August. The U.S. Marshals Service says Romero-Rivera, a Salvadoran national, had previously been deported and had re-entered the country illegally. [The (Martinsburg, W.Va.) Journal]
Learn About Lyme Disease Tonight — The National Capital Lyme Disease Association will host a panel discussion on the topic tonight, 7:30-9:30 p.m., at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). [NatCapLyme]
Herndon Welcomes South Korean Guests — Herndon’s mayor and Town Council exchanged gifts, including a ceremonial Town Key, with the South Korean visitors, who were guests of Grandmaster H.K. Lee Academy of TaeKwonDo. [Connection Newspapers]
Local Military Veteran Dies in Texas — Carl Bolle, a 1977 graduate of Herndon High School, served 20 years in the U.S. Army and achieved the rank of sergeant first class. Among his medals, he earned the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. After retiring, he worked as a contractor in the computer intelligence area at Fort Hood for 16 years. [Temple Daily Telegram]
Our prayers are with @MuhammadBayazid who is in the hospital in Istanbul after being stabbed in what appears to be an assassination attempt. pic.twitter.com/55nXkX7FHc
— SyrianCulturalHouse (@syriaculture) October 10, 2017
A Syrian opposition filmmaker, who resides in Reston, was apparently the target of an assassination attempt Tuesday in Istanbul.
According to the Middle East Eye, Muhammad Bayazid was stabbed in the chest while meeting potential investors for his new film project, which focuses on Syria’s notorious Tadmor prison. The film tells the story of a Syrian-American man unjustly imprisoned and tortured there.
The prison was destroyed by the Islamic State in 2015.
another attack against Syrian opposition figure in Turkey..
Director Mohammad Bayazid was stabbed hours ago in Istanbul, hope he survives
— diana moukalled (@dianamoukalled) October 11, 2017
Bayazid’s LinkedIn page shows he lives in Reston and is owner of DC-based LightArt Media Productions.
He and his wife, Samah Safi Bayazid, have a short film scheduled to be shown in Reston later this month as part of the Washington West Film Festival. “Fireplace” will be shown Oct. 27 and 28 at Bowtie Cinemas (11940 Market St.). Bayazid and his wife are advertised to be participating in question-and-answer sessions following the screenings.
According to the description of that film:
Inspired by true events. It is Christmas Eve in Syria. A small kid plays hide and seek with his dad, picking the most unexpected place to hide — the fireplace. As a jet fighter bombards the house, the fireplace stands. But now, the child finds himself trapped and alone.
Bayazid is in intensive care following the attack, the BBC reports.
Biden To Be in Reston on Saturday — The former Vice President will host a roundtable discussion on workforce development Saturday in Reston along with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam. The event, to be held at Reston Town Center co-working space Refraction (11911 Freedom Drive), will highlight Northam’s jobs plan. [NBC Washington]
Police Help Young Drivers — Officers help teenage drivers learn how to handle themselves on the roadway and what to do in certain situations during the “Youthful Driver Program” every Saturday at the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Vienna, Herndon Among Top 5 Virginia Towns in Survey — A website for business professionals ranked incorporated cities and towns in Virginia based on factors including poverty level, unemployment rate and median household income. It names Vienna the “Most Successful” in the state, with Herndon coming in at No. 5. [Zippia]
County’s Fall Book Festival Kicks Off — The county’s library system is offering residents the opportunity to meet numerous authors today through Saturday as part of the “Fall for the Book” festival. [Fairfax County Public Library]
Community Center To Host Cabaret Singer — Beverly Cosham will perform Thursday afternoon at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road). [Reston Community Center]
Signs now in place at the future home of Nando’s Peri-Peri (12120 Sunset Hills Road) indicate the Portuguese-style chicken restaurant will open later this year.
The windows at the new storefront within the RTC West development are now adorned with advertisements for the coming restaurant. The largest reads that the fast-casual restaurant’s opening has been scheduled for “Fall 2017.” Others encourage future customers to send their email address to “make a date” with the restaurant, and future employees to text “RESTON” to 41-411 for information about job opportunities.
We emailed a Nando’s spokesperson for additional information about the opening date of the restaurant. We were told there will be “big news in Reston shortly.”
According to promotional information, Nando’s has about 1,200 restaurants in 23 countries on five continents. It was founded in 1987 in South Africa, and first came to the United States in 2008 with a DC location. Other area restaurants include at One Loudoun and in the Mosaic District.
Also in the RTC West development, Starbucks (12130A Sunset Hills Road) opened this week. Meanwhile, progress continues at Mezeh Mediterranean Grill, which will be located next to Nando’s.