Alexandria man please guilty in Halifax County murders and carjacking

Mohamed Aly of Alexandria pleaded guilty and was sentenced Dec. 17 to four consecutive life terms for murder and an additional 18-year sentence for related firearm offenses.

Aly murdered Joel Bianda, 21, of Alexandria and Ayanna Maertens Griffin, 18, of Germantown, Md., in the Turbeville community of Halifax County early February 8. Their bodies were found in the median of Route 58 near Melon Rd. just before 3 a.m. by Virginia State troopers who arrived on the scene of what appeared to be a single-vehicle crash.

“The Commonwealth has consulted closely with law enforcement and the families of the victims, which we do whenever possible,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin. “Most of the family members wanted to see Aly spend the rest of his life in prison and the Commonwealth agreed that multiple life sentences were appropriate to achieve justice in the case.”

Bianda had agreed to drive Aly from Alexandria to Danville. Maertens Griffin, who was Bianda’s girlfriend, accompanied them. Aly told Joel he needed a ride to Alexandria to pick up a friend. He took a firearm with him which was a 9 mm handgun which he had picked up from what he called a “marked location.” 

The group stopped at one point and Aly drove about 100 miles. They switched back again likely about an hour away from Danville. Aly asked Bianda to pull over and while the car was still moving he shot Bianda and a second later shot Maertens Griffin. At the time of the shooting, the car was still in motion and Aly attempted to stop it from the back seat. He pulled the victims out of the vehicle and left their bodies in the median before driving off. 

Aly then picked up a friend near Danville. He realized he left the gun behind and returned to the scene to retrieve it. While there he took the victims’ cell phones and disposed of them in different locations. Aly then took off in the car and lost control and crashed into an embankment. The two then abandoned the car and ran into the woods where they disposed of the gun and magazines.

Virginia State Police arrested Aly in Alexandria five days after the killing and he was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. 

Prosecutors said that Aly never gave a motive for his crimes.

Man charged after abduction and burglary

Gerald Brevard III.jpg

Gerald Brevard III

A 29-year-old man is facing charges following multiple crimes in the Herndon area. 

After 8 a.m. Dec. 16, officers from the Fairfax County Police Department Fair Oaks District Station and detectives from the Major Crimes Bureau responded to a suspicious person call and later a reported luring, both near Sunrise Valley Drive in Herndon. Detectives remained in the area throughout the day searching for the suspect as his description and suspicious activity in Wednesday’s incidents matched that of the previous reported assault Nov. 27.

Shortly before 8 p.m. a community member reported a man attempting to break into a home in the 13900 block of Mansarde Avenue in Herndon. A suspect description was provided that matched the man detectives were searching for. Fair Oaks District patrol officers and the Neighborhood Patrol Unit, the Reston District Neighborhood Patrol Unit, K9 unit and detectives surrounded the area and conducted a hours-long search. Just before midnight, officers found the man, Gerald Brevard III attempting to hide in the common area of a nearby apartment complex.

Brevard was arrested and charged with burglary and possession of burglarious tools. Additionally, he was charged with abduction in relation to the Nov. 27 case detectives were investigating, additional charges are pending. Detectives continue to investigate the Dec. 3 robbery and sex assault. Brevard is being held at the adult detention center without bond.

Victim specialists from the Major Crimes Bureau’s Victim Services Division have been assigned to ensure that the victims are receiving appropriate resources and assistance.

Detectives are asking anyone with information about these events to please call our Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 3. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477).

Man dies after apparent construction site accident

Detectives from the Fairfax County Police Department Major Crimes Bureau have completed a preliminary investigation after a man died in an apparent construction site accident outside of a home in the 800 block of Emerald Drive in Fort Hunt Dec. 18. 

Officers and rescue personnel responded just before 12:30 p.m. when a trench wall collapsed on two men. One man was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. Jonathan Spencer Canales, 30, of Maryland, died at the scene.

It appears the two men were working in a plumbing trench about 6 feet deep with some shoring in place. Detectives believe the men were working to shore another part of the trench when a wall collapsed.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy this morning. After a review of evidence and on scene consultation with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there is no indication of criminal activity at this time. 


Falls Church shooting suspect identified and charged


Glenn Allen Myer

The man arrested for shooting a teen Dec. 17 inside of an apartment has been identified as Glenn Allen Myer, 61, of Falls Church. 

Officers responded to an apartment in the 2000 block of Peach Orchard Drive at 10:49 a.m. Dec. 17 for a shot person. A teenager called 911 advising that he had been shot in the face by a man who lives in the apartment. The teenager sought shelter from the armed assailant in a bedroom and told the police dispatcher that the man was actively trying to break into the room.

Officers assigned to the Fairfax County Police Department Patrol Bureau, Special Operations Division, Traffic Division and a deputy assigned to the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene and attempted to negotiate with the armed man from outside of the apartment. These negotiations yielded no progress toward deescalating the situation, and it was evident the victim’s life was in imminent danger. To preserve life, officers entered the home and encountered a 61-year-old man from Falls Church, who was armed with a gun. Two officers discharged their weapons, striking the man in the upper body. The officers immediately removed the victim from the residence to a safe location and took the man into custody. Officers then rendered aid to the man until relieved by fire and rescue personnel.

An officer suffered a minor injury from the incident and was treated at the scene, no other officers were injured. The victim suffered injuries not considered to be life-threatening and was treated at a nearby hospital.

The two officers involved in the shooting have been identified as a 20-year and an 18-year veteran who are both assigned to the Special Operations Division. As per department policy, the officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal and administrative investigation.

A criminal investigation into the use of force is being conducted by the Major Crimes Bureau.

Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. has directed the Internal Affairs Bureau to conduct an administrative investigation in accordance with policy, along with an independent review by the Police Auditor. The names of the officers will be released by Roessler within 10 days.

Myer was released from the hospital Dec. 19 and was charged with aggravated malicious wounding. He is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond.

Norfolk man killed in I-95 accident

Virginia State Police is investigating a fatal crash in Fairfax County. 

The crash occurred Dec. 17 at 1:45 a.m. on I-95 at the 165 mile marker. A tractor-trailer was parked on the southbound right shoulder of I-95 when it was rear-ended by a GMC Terrain. 

Nathaniel Thurman, 50, of Norfolk, driver of the GMC died at the scene. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured in the crash. 

The Virginia State Police Crash Reconstruction Team and Virginia State Police Motor Carrier Safety Team both responded to assist with the ongoing crash investigation.

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