Undocumented Immigrant Pleads Not Guilty to Killing Laken Riley


The individual accused of murdering 22-year-old Laken Riley has pleaded not guilty to ten counts, including murder and kidnapping. Prosecutors have decided not to pursue the death penalty.

The District Attorney for the Western Judicial Circuit will instead seek life imprisonment without the possibility of parole against Ibarra.

Ibarra was indicted on May 8 for felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault with intent to rape, kidnapping with bodily injury, obstructing a person making a 911 phone call, and tampering with evidence.

Supporters of former U.S. President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump hold images of Laken Riley before he speaks at a “Get Out the Vote” rally in Rome, Georgia, on March 9, 2024. (ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP via Getty Images)

Prosecutors allege that on February 22, when Riley went for a morning jog, Ibarra kidnapped her after preventing her from making a 911 call. Then, Ibarra allegedly attempted to rape Riley before brutally strangling her and beating her to death.

Riley’s body was discovered the same day in a wooded area on the UGA campus.

Prosecutors say that on the day Ibarra allegedly murdered Riley, he spied on another UGA student by looking through their apartment window.

Riley’s murder has sparked nationwide outrage over illegal immigration to the United States under President Joe Biden’s administration.

As reported, according to his case file, Ibarra was first encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border near El Paso, Texas, on September 8, 2022. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials cited “detention capacity” as the reason Ibarra was granted parole and released into the U.S. interior despite available detention space.

On July 19, 2023, Ibarra reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in New York City for a biometric appointment where he was fingerprinted. The results of those fingerprints indicated that Ibarra had a prior criminal history, according to his case file.

On September 14, 2023, Ibarra was arrested for acting in a manner that could injure a child. Despite the charge, Ibarra was not prosecuted, and the arrest was expunged.

Two months later, in November 2023, Ibarra applied for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). On December 9, 2023, Ibarra’s work permit application was approved.

John Binder
John Binder
John Binder is an immigration and fashion journalist. He focuses on national issues in the United States and writes for various platforms. He is a proud son, husband, father, and USMC Vet.

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