Laken Riley’s accused murderer charged with ‘peeping’ on day she was killed

Jose Antonio Ibarra was indicted on 10 counts by a grand jury on Tuesday

Michelle Del Rey
Wednesday 08 May 2024 18:09 BST
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The suspect accused of killing 22-year-old Georgia nursing student Laken Riley while she was out on on a run has been indicted on new charges, including one count of being a “peeping tom” on the day of the murder.

A grand jury returned the indictment in the Superior Court of Clarke County on Tuesday, charging Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, with 10 counts, including malice murder, felony murder, kidnapping with bodily injury, aggravated assault with intent to rape, aggravated battery, obstructing or hindering a person making an emergency telephone call and tampering with evidence.

Mr Ibarra was also indicted on a charge of peeping over allegations that he unlawfully went onto the premises of a University of Georgia Athens campus’ housing building where he did “peep through a window and spied upon and invaded the privacy” of an individual inside.

The name of the alleged peeping victim is redacted in the court documents and so it is not clear if this incident is connected to Riley.

However, the peeping incident allegedly took place on 22 February – the day of Riley’s murder.

Riley, a nursing student at Augusta University, set off on a run that day and never returned.

After the alarm was raised, authorities found her beaten body along her running route close to the University of Georgia campus.

Laken Riley was killed when she went for a run in February
Laken Riley was killed when she went for a run in February (Augusta University)

Mr Ibarra was arrested and charged with her murder.

He is accused of causing her death “by inflicting blunt force trauma” and “asphyxiating her”, authorities said.

UGA Police Chief Jeff Clark said at the time of his arrest that Mr Ibarra and Riley are not thought to have known each other prior to her murder.

Mr Ibarra lived in an apartment building near the on-campus park where Riley went for a run. It would have taken him minutes to walk to the area, police said.

“This was a crime of opportunity where he saw an individual, and bad things happened,” the police chief said at a news conference.

Mr Ibarra, a Venezuelan immigrant, is currently being held in Clarke County Jail. He has decided to not seek bond in the case.

The Independent has reached out to the Western Judicial Circuit Public Defender Office for comment.

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