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Judge Orders Social Media Ban on Indian American Man Who Murdered Virginia Stranger for Being a ‘Werewolf’

Judge Orders Social Media Ban on Indian American Man Who Murdered Virginia Stranger for Being a ‘Werewolf’

  • The ruling comes after Pankaj Bhasin, who stabbed Brad Jackson in Alexandria, misrepresented himself on a Facebook dating app.

A New Jersey man who killed a stranger in Alexandria, Virginia, because he believed the victim was a werewolf, must stay off social media, a judge ruled last week. The decision comes after Pankaj Bhasin’s online dating profile raised concerns for misrepresenting what transpired four years ago, prosecutors said, as reported by NBC Washington. They showed a screenshot in which Bhasin described himself as “an easy-going adventurer who believes in universal connection” who is “recently getting back from two years of travel,” the NBC report said.

In 2018,  Bhasin, then 34, murdered Brad Jackson, 65, in Alexandria’s Old Town area, NBC 4 Washington reported at the time. Bhasin reportedly drove from his New Jersey home on July 13, 2018, to the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, “but the staff kicked him out for behaving strangely in the lobby,” according to a Washington Post report. He then made his way to Old Town Alexandria where he saw Jackson and followed him to the store where he worked. The two had never met before.  When Jackson confronted him, Bhasin struck. “He stabbed him 53 times with a box cutter and gouged out his eyes,” the NBC 4 Washington report said, citing reports from the trial. 

According to The Washington Post, Bhasin told police and a psychiatrist later that Jackson had started turning into a werewolf and that he needed to kill the man to “save 99 percent of the moon and planets.”

Bhasin was found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent three years in Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute. He was released from the facility on June 1, and granted conditional release. In the lead-up to his first trial, five doctors diagnosed him “with bipolar disorder with psychotic features,” Daily Voice Alexandria reported. However, that “ended in a mistrial when the jury couldn’t return a verdict,” the report said. During his second trial, Bhasin pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. A psychiatrist hired by the state agreed with the defense’s doctors as well, said the Daily Voice Alexandria report. 

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Bhasin’s online dating profile came to light when several women saw the website and alerted the prosecutors. “What I noticed was a person that had killed my friend, had been locked up at a mental hospital for several years now, was now online dating on the internet with a profile that basically said, likes to have fun, easygoing,” Sarah Bryen told NBC 4 Washington

When the prosecutor asked the judge to either bar the Indian American from social media or set up software to monitor his activity, his attorney informed him that his client had simply cut-and-pasted the profile he had created before the killing. He said “Bhasin is doing well in his return to the community, working with his treatment team and taking college classes,” per NBC 4 Washington. But the judge, agreeing with prosecutors, ordered Bhasin to take down his social media profile as long as he’s on conditional release. He will be allowed to keep using LinkedIn as he looks for a job. Bhasin is due back in court for a six-month review of his conditional release.

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