Suspect Jose Ibarra to Appear in Court for Laken Riley Case

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The man accused of killing Georgia nursing student Laken Riley is set to return to court Friday for an arraignment hearing.

Jose Ibarra is scheduled to appear at 11 a.m. in Clarke County Superior Court. During the hearing, he can either plead guilty or not guilty; if he pleads not guilty, the case could head to trial.

Ibarra, 26, faces charges of malice murder, felony murder, kidnapping with bodily injury, aggravated assault with intent to rape, aggravated battery, obstruction, tampering with evidence and being a “peeping Tom,” court records show.

The peeping Tom charges accuse Ibarra of peering through another person’s window on the day of Riley’s death.

Who is Jose Ibarra?

Truth Voices confirmed Ibarra entered the United States illegally in September 2022 in El Paso, Texas. He came from Venezuela and lived in New York before moving to Georgia.

Ibarra had previously been arrested in connection with other minor crimes, including shoplifting.

What happened to Laken Riley?

The investigation into Riley’s death began when a friend reported her missing at Feb. 22 after she didn’t return home from a run.

Investigators soon after discovered a body on the University of Georgia campus in a forested area. Emergency responders tried to revive Riley, a 22-year-old who had studied at Augusta University’s nursing college, but determined she died before officers discovered her body.

The University of Georgia Police Department arrested Ibarra in connection to Riley’s death the following day.

Prosecutors allege Ibarra beat Riley with an object and dragged her body to a secluded area off the jogging path in an attempt to conceal her body.

Preliminary autopsy reports suggest Riley died of blunt force trauma to the head.

GOP support for Laken Riley Act

Some Republican senators have since urged lawmakers to pass the Laken Riley Act, which would require the Department of Homeland Security to detain immigrants in the country illegally for crimes such as theft, as part of an upcoming funding bill.

The legislation already passed the House, where it was sponsored by Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga. The bill requires anyone who is arrested for theft, burglary or similar crimes and who is not legally in the country be detained by DHS. It would also allow state attorneys general to sue federal officials for failing to enforce immigration policies.

The bill still faces challenges in the Senate.

Laken Riley’s father, Jason Riley, told NBC News he fears her death is being exploited as a political wedge.

Jorge Ventura
Jorge Ventura
Formerly with the Daily Caller, Ventura’s coverage of civil unrest in the Summer of 2020 gained him a national following. He has also been covering and breaking news on the border crisis since 2021. Ventura has produced a number of investigative documentaries including Cartelville, USA and Narcofornia.

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