The Washington Post

Jury recommends two life sentences in Va. killings

An Alexandria jury on Friday recommended the maximum sentence of a life term for each of two first-degree murder convictions for a man who slit the throats of his 3-year-old daughter and her mother at an Alexandria apartment in April.

Simon Bahta, 35, also faces 20 years for burglary in connection with the case.

Bahta had attempted to be found not guilty by reason of insanity in the killings of his ex-girlfriend, Seble G. Tessema, 27, and their daughter, Eden, after Bahta became enraged after discovering a man’s phone number in Tessema’s cellphone call log.

A May 26 sentencing hearing is set before Alexandria Circuit Court Judge Lisa Kemler. Under Virginia law, a judge can accept or reduce the sentences recommended by a jury.

Bahta was convicted Thursday.

Mary Pat Flaherty works on investigative and long-range stories. Her work has won numerous national awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.


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