Navy Vet Charged in Killing of 19-Year-Old Ashanti Billie

Source File

Source File

Eric Brown, 45, is suspected of having abducted Billie, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, on September 18 as she arrived for work at a Blimpie's restaurant on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, according to court documents.

Brown, 45, a Charlotte native and retired 21-year Navy veteran, is accused of first abducting Ashanti Billie, a 19-year-old Virginia Beach woman, then killing her before hiding her body in the tall grass not far from his childhood home.

Ashanti Billie's body was found in September behind a north Charlotte church, 10 days after she disappeared from a Naval base in Norfolk.

Prosecutors said the 21-year Navy veteran visited the restaurant where Billie worked nearly daily. Almost two weeks later, her body was found near a church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Billie's parents, who both are veterans, said Thursday that they thought their daughter, who stood only 4-foot-11, would be safe on a military base. "I understand that we have these two charges but there are more charges to me", said Ashanti's father, Meltony.

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Tony Billie said investigators told him Brown was immediately on their radar after they interviewed people at Ashanti Billie's work who told them about Brown.

"How was it that this guy was allowed to roam around base?" he asked. Late Wednesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police charged the retired Navy petty officer with murder. Her trousers were missing, and her arms were bound above her head inside a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt and shirt, the affidavit says.

She said seeing Brown's picture was "like looking at a monster".

Billie's partially clothed body was found on September 29 in a wooded, overgrown area behind the East Stonewall AME Zion Church in north Charlotte.

Court documents claim Brown told a law enforcement official that he despised Black women and said they were "gold diggers" who "only want guys with all the money" in early October just days after her body was found.

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"One witness recalled hearing a conversation where Brown commented directly to the victim about her 'big ass, '" the affidavit for Brown's arrest warrant said.

Prosecutors say she was wearing dark-colored clothing and her white 2014 Mini Cooper was seen on camera entering the naval base around 4:45 a.m. Surveillance video shows a man who resembles brown, wearing light-colored clothes, driving Billie's auto off the base at 5:33 a.m. The video shows her Mini Cooper and a man getting out of it, tossing something into a dumpster. A construction worker contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and said he believed the man in the video was Brown.

On Sept. 23, Billie's unlocked vehicle was found in Norfolk with the keys on the passenger seat.

Brown grew up near the church and went to vacation Bible school there as a child, prosecutors said.

Brown was later arrested on unrelated charges. On the kidnapping charge alone, Brown could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

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"I go back to the young lady and her daughter missing as well, she's about the same size as Ashanti".

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