A 28-year-old Ethiopian man was convicted yesterday of second-degree murder in the shooting of his older brother, a part-time interpreter for the Justice Department and a language school employe.
Alexandria Circuit Court Judge Albert H. Grenadier ruled that Teteka Assefa killed his brother, Heyawneh Assefa, 29, by firing two shots, one into his neck and another into his left chest Oct. 19 in the brother's apartment on Four Mile Road in the Arlandria section of Alexandria, prosecutors said.
The younger Assefa, who was last employed as a draftsman, fired two shots from a .357 magnum revolver he had purchased a few days earlier and fled to National Airport, where he took a flight to Canada, said S. Randolph Sengel, an assistant commonwealth's attorney.
Canadian authorities detained Assefa at the U.S. border when he was unable to produce documents indicating he was a U.S. citizen, Sengel said. Assefa was extradited after Canadian authorities learned of an Alexandria warrant for his arrest.
An affidavit filed in the Alexandria court by Robert Chretien of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Assefa told him he had killed a person in the United States. "I had to kill him, it is our custom," the officer said Assefa told him.
Court papers indicated that there had been tension between the brothers prior to the shooting. Records from an Alexandria mental health care center said Teteka Assefa had visited a month before the shooting. "There was some indication that Mr. Assefa believed his brother 'wanted to destroy his self confidence and "dominate" him,' " the report said.
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 22. Assefa faces up to 20 years in prison.