Arrest made in murder of Baltimore tech CEO Pava LaPere

Police say they're going to hold a news conference Thursday morning to announce the arrest of Jason Billingsley in the brutal murder of 26-year-old Baltimore tech CEO Pava LaPere. Sources have told CBS News Baltimore that he's in custody.

No details on the arrest were immediately available.

Jason Billingsley in an undated photo. / Credit: CBS News Baltimore
Jason Billingsley in an undated photo. / Credit: CBS News Baltimore

Baltimore Acting Police Commissioner Richard Worley said at a press conference Tuesday evening that an arrest warrant had been issued for the 32-year-old Billingsley, from Baltimore, for first-degree murder, assault, reckless endangerment and additional charges.

"We implore residents to be aware of your surroundings at all times," Worley said. "This individual will kill and he will rape. He will do anything he can to cause harm."

Worley was joined by Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, State's Attorney Ivan Bates, and U.S. Marshals at the news conference as local, state and federal law enforcement agencies sought Billingsley.

The convicted felon and sex offender was paroled last October in an earlier sexual assault case, CBS News Baltimore says.

And sources close to the investigation confirmed to the station that Billingsley is also the prime suspect in an arson in a home in West Baltimore on Sept. 19. The Associated Press says it also involved a rape and attempted murder.

In that incident, CBS News Baltimore says, a man and a woman were critically injured. A 5-year-old was found on a different floor of the house and taken to a hospital as well, fire officials said.

LaPere was found dead with signs of blunt force trauma Monday morning, according to police.

LaPere co-founded EcoMap, a company that says it digitizes ecosystems with its proprietary technology.

Pava LaPere in an undated photo. / Credit: CBS News Baltimore
Pava LaPere in an undated photo. / Credit: CBS News Baltimore

While Billingsley was still on the run, his mother, Scarlett Billingsley, begged him to surrender.

"I told him that he needs to turn himself in, but I really don't think he's going to do that because he's scared," Scarlett Billingsley told CBS News Baltimore.

At a vigil for LaPere Wednesday evening, employees of EcoMap Technologies, family and friends gathered to celebrate her life, CBS Baltimore reports.

"Thank you all for being here and for loving our daughter and for taking care of her," Frank LaPere, the victim's father, said. "We're going to take her away from Baltimore, but her presence will never leave here."

The recent Johns Hopkins grad was remembered as someone who was full of energy and ambition and a firm belief in the potential for positive change, according to the AP.

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