Daughter of former intelligence director John Negroponte found guilty of butchering classmate over Airbnb disagreement

News & Politics

The adopted daughter of former President George W. Bush’s U.S. intelligence director John Negroponte has been convicted of brutally murdering a 24-year-old man in a drunken Airbnb argument.

A Maryland jury found 29-year-old Sophia Negroponte guilty of second-degree murder in the February 2020 slaying of Yousuf Rasmussen, reported the Associated Press.

The murderer faces up to 40 years in jail. She will reportedly have to serve at least half of her sentence to become eligible for parole. Negroponte stands for sentencing on March 31.

The trial

WTOP indicated that the jury deliberated for 16 hours before arriving on an “appropriate verdict,” resolving a trial that began on Dec. 6.

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The Washington Post reported that the jurors determined that while Negroponte acted with “a depraved heart” and “acted with extreme disregard of the life-endangering consequences,” the murder was not premediated.

Negroponte was initially charged with first-degree murder.

Defense attorney David Moyse tried to persuade the jurors that Negroponte was too drunk to form intent.

“Alcohol pervades this case from the start; it pervades her life,” said Moyse. “It’s one of the major reasons that this is absolutely not a murder.”

The jury didn’t buy what Moyse was selling. Jurors determined Negroponte had intended “to inflict such serious bodily harm” as to take Rasmussen’s life.

Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Fenton said, “Her hand was on that knife when it was plunged into his face, and cut across his throat, and plunged into his neck, where the blood came down and he collapsed almost immediately.”

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Terrence J. McGann ultimately revoked the murderer’s bond, underscoring how her victim was “taken from this earth, at a very young age with his whole life ahead of him, in such a horrific way.”

The murder

The Montgomery County Police Department arrested Negroponte at the bloody scene in Rockville, Maryland, on Feb. 13, 2020.

Rasmussen, an acquaintance and former classmate of Negroponte, was found dead inside the residence in the 400 block of West Montgomery Avenue. He had just graduated from college.

The victim’s mother, Zeba Rasmussen, said, “Yousuf was a kind and gentle soul, a loving person who brought family and many friends great joy.”

Rasmussen had been watching TV with Negroponte, but an argument with the murderer prompted him to leave. However, according to Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy, Rasmussen stopped back in to grab his cell phone.

Upon the victim’s momentary return, Negroponte, “armed with a knife, stabbed him multiple times, one being a death blow that severed his jugular.”

Despite being found apologizing near Rasmussen’s corpse on the night of the murder, Negroponte told Fenton during cross-examination that she “didn’t do it” and denied harming Rasmussen.

The appeal

John Negroponte, the son of a Greek shipping magnate whom Bush appointed the first director of national intelligence on Feb. 17, 2005, suggested that his family may seek an appeal.

The murderer was one of five orphaned Honduran children whom John and Diana Negroponte adopted in the 1980s. John Negroponte had been ambassador to the crime-ridden central American country from 1981 to 1985.

John Negroponte suggested that his adopted daughter ought to be cut slack for brutally murdering her classmate because of “past trauma and other factors that led to a very troubled existence.”

Despite Sophia Negroponte’s willingness to throw away a young man’s life, her father said, “We don’t want to see her life wasted in prison.”

This isn’t the first time that John Negroponte downplayed violence.

The Baltimore Sun conducted a 14-month investigation in the mid-90s, which found that while ambassador to Honduras, “Negroponte was confronted with evidence that a Honduran army intelligence unit, trained by the CIA, was stalking, kidnapping, torturing, and killing suspected subversives.”

Despite ample knowledge about these and other human rights abuses by government security forces, he denied or downplayed them, reported the Nation.

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