After killing his coworker Hernan Leiva during a lunch disagreement, 25-year-old Bazn Berhe was unexpectedly sentenced to 100 years in jail, with 30 years suspended.
Fox 5 DC reported that the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney made the statement on Tuesday.
Following the violent death of 58-year-old Hernan Leiva, a janitor at the Target store in Bailey’s Crossroads, Berhe was charged with first-degree murder.
Berhe assaulted Leiva in the store’s parking area early on April 17, 2021, setting off a fatal chain of violence.
The motive behind the gruesome crime traces back to a seemingly mundane workplace incident. Berhe harbored deep resentment after Leiva allegedly stole his lunch from the office refrigerator three days prior, leading to a festering grudge that culminated in violence.
The premeditated nature of the crime became evident as Berhe meticulously planned the murder. On April 15, he purchased a hammer and two knives after completing his shift at Target, claiming that he spent the following day “training for the murder.”
In the early hours of April 17, Berhe executed his plan. Lying in wait at the employee parking lot, he ambushed Leiva upon his arrival, unleashing a savage assault involving stabbing and bludgeoning. Following the brutal act, Berhe fled the scene.
Berhe’s Shocking Confession
Berhe’s immediate confession and subsequent guilty plea in October 2023 to first-degree murder underscored the gravity of his actions.
During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors revealed that Berhe had explicitly threatened harm to others if not given the harshest possible sentence.
Steve Descano, the Commonwealth’s Attorney, described the deep effects Leiva’s senseless murder had on his family and the community.
“Mr. Leiva’s unnecessary and tragic death leaves behind a grieving family and community, one that will never be the same after such a senseless act of violence,”
Descano said. He underlined that in order to ensure public safety and address the self-declared threat that Berhe presented to the community, the sentence had to be severe.
Berhe’s conduct warrants a serious legal punishment of one hundred years, with thirty years suspended, serving as a sobering reminder of the deadly consequences that can stem from seemingly insignificant disputes at work.
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