A 28-year-old man accused by police of fleeing to his native Ethiopia after killing a young couple in Virginia has been convicted of first-degree murder, authorities said Wednesday.
Yohannes Nessibu was found guilty by a jury of the murder of 22-year-old Kedest Simeneh, who was found fatally shot in the backyard of a Burke residence in December 2016. He is charged – but has not yet been tried – in the murder of Henok Yohannes, 22.
Relatives of the victims had previously said that detectives told them that Nessibu had gone with a group to Yohannes’ home to buy drugs, but the matter turned sour and Nessibu shot him. Nessibu then forced people into the Burke neighborhood where Simeneh was found shot dead, family members said.
After the killings, Nessibu fled to Ethiopia and the families of those killed became anguished as he remained a free man – even though he was charged in Fairfax County in March 2017.
The United States wanted him returned to stand trial, but Ethiopia initially refused. He was arrested and taken to the United States in 2019, which a spokeswoman for the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington said was possible because he was a US citizen.
After the death of a young couple, the suspected shooter fled to Ethiopia.
Fairfax County District Attorney Steve Descano (D) told a news conference Thursday that the guilty verdict was slow in coming.
“I want the community to know that no matter how long it takes, this office will do whatever it takes to hold accountable anyone who hurts a member of our Fairfax County community,” Descano said.
Descano said the trials for the two murders had been separated from each other, and he hoped the other would be scheduled before Nessibu’s February 2023 sentencing.
“With the guilty verdict we have obtained, Mr. Nessibu is already facing life in prison,” Descano said.
Descano said he hopes the verdict puts the victim’s family on the path to closure.
“After the verdict was read yesterday, there were a number of the victim’s family members in the courtroom and there was just a palpable sense of relief,” Descano said. “It happened six years ago, so living with this pain for six years and finally seeing the person who did this to your family held accountable? Joy is too strong a word as it is not a joyous occasion, but the feeling of relief was palpable.
The article is in French
. Conviction for murder for man who fled Ethiopia after murder dun couple