A man who killed a stranger in Alexandria, Virginia, because he believed the victim was a werewolf while having a mental break must stay off social media, a judge said Thursday. His online dating profile had raised concerns.
Four years ago, Pankaj Bhasin, then 34, stabbed Brad Jackson more than 50 times in an upstairs office on King Street, in the Old Town area. Jackson was 65. Bhasin was found not guilty by reason of insanity, spent three years in a mental health facility and was granted conditional release this summer.
Bhasin’s Facebook dating profile misrepresented what has happened in recent years, prosecutors said in a story reported first by NBC Washington. They showed a screen shot in which Bhasin described himself as “an easy going adventurer who believes in universal connection” who is “recently getting back from two years of travel.”
A few weeks ago, several women and then prosecutors saw the profile. A friend of Jackson said she was horrified by it.
“What I noticed was a person that had killed my friend, had been locked up at a mental hospital for several years now, was now online dating on the internet with a profile that basically said, likes to have fun, easygoing,” Sarah Bryen said.
Bhasin appeared in court Thursday. A prosecutor called his Facebook dating profile intentionally misleading and asked the judge to either bar him from social media or set up software to monitor his activity.
Bhasin’s attorney told the judge his client had simply cut-and-pasted the profile he had created before the killing. He said Bhasin is doing well in his return to the community, working with his treatment team and taking college classes.
But the judge, agreeing with prosecutors, ordered Bhasin to take down his social media profile as long as he’s on conditional release. He will be allowed to keep using LinkedIn as he looks for a job.
Bhasin and his lawyer declined comment as they left the Alexandria courthouse.
The ruling brought some comfort to the victim’s friend.
“I still worry for basically everyone’s safety, but I appreciate that somebody noticed,” Bryen said.
She said she still wished the judge had ordered some type of monitoring software.
Bhasin is due back in court for a six-month review of his conditional release.