A federal grand jury returned an indictment on Wednesday and charged Navy veteran Eric Brian Brown with kidnapping resulting in the death of Ashanti M. Billie, a 19-year-old Virginia Beach college student.
According to allegations in the indictment, Brown, 46, abducted Billie in September 2017 on the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. Brown then transported Billie against her will and across state lines from Virginia to North Carolina. Billie died as a result of the kidnapping.
The accused killer was moved to the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky a year ago, where he was examined by at least one psychiatrist or licensed clinical psychologist. The purpose of the move was to determine if Brown is mentally competent to understand the proceedings against him and assist in his defense.
If Brown is convicted of kidnapping resulting in death, he faces the possibility of the death penalty and a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.
Brown was also charged with assault, resulting in serious bodily injury, and theft. If he is convicted of those two offenses, he faces an additional maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
In a statement released Thursday, Ashanti's parents said the following:
"We the parents of Ashanti Billie, Meltony and Brandy have been in constant communication with federal authorities throughout this investigation and we are pleased with the diligent work that they continue to do. From the beginning we understood that this would be a long and difficult process, however we remain vigilant and determined to see full and complete justice for the depraved individual that took our beautiful daughter from our family and the world. Yesterday's indictment of Eric Brian Brown represents favorable movement but we remain watchful of the process until the end."
Congress is expected to pass the Ashanti Alert Act and have it to President Trump to sign on Thursday. The missing persons alert is for adults who are too old for an Amber Alert, and too young for a Silver Alert. A similar alert was passed in Virginia.