Suspect Charged For Murder Of Augusta University Nursing Student

February 26, 2024

… this was a crime of opportunity where he saw an individual, and bad things happened.

University of Georgia (UGA) Police Chief Jeff Clark in a press conference on Friday evening announcing an arrest for the murder of Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student, who was killed on Thursday morning while jogging at the UGA campus.

Why It Matters: On Friday evening, Clark announced that Jose Antonio Ibarra, a 26-year-old who lives in Athens, GA, and is not a U.S. citizen, has been arrested and charged with “malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 charge and concealing the death of another.” On Friday, Clark said according to the investigation, the suspect did not previously know Riley, and that it appears to have been a “solo act.” The Independent reports that “Ibarra appears to have first entered the US almost 18 months ago.” The suspect, who came to the U.S. from Venezuela, remains in jail after being denied bond over the weekend.

A friend of Riley’s told The New York Times that Riley “lit up every room she walked into and brought a smile on everyone’s face,” adding, “She was the first to gather us up to study together and go on coffee runs. She built so many friendships and relationships, which we are all forever grateful for and will use to honor her amazing spirit.”

Read More: Jose and Diego Ibarra: Court documents reveal immigration, criminal past in the United States (WSB-TV 2 Atlanta)

Suspect in Killing at U. of Georgia Is Denied Bond as a Shaken Campus Mourns (The New York Times)

UGA committed to campus safety as community mourns tragic loss (UGA TODAY)

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas