National News

Man charged in Ashanti Billie kidnapping, murder faces federal judge for detention hearing

Posted November 14, 2017 10:58 a.m. EST

— A U.S. Navy veteran charged with kidnapping and killing a 19-year-old college student is set to face a judge Tuesday afternoon for a preliminary and detention hearing.

Eric Brown, 45, is the man the FBI believes kidnapped Ashanti Billie from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek back on September 18 when she reported for work at the Blimpie sandwich shop. Billie's car was found five days later in an Ocean View neighborhood and her body was discovered behind a church in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 29.

Brown was taken into custody by authorities in Hampton Roads for trespassing, but court documents say the feds were onto him already after witnesses came forward days before his arrest saying they believed Brown was involved in Billie's disappearance.

Once in custody, Brown's DNA was tested and matched the two DNA samples on Billie's clothing. One sample matched 1 in 720 billion and another matched 1 in 2.7 quadrillion.

Statements Brown made to co-workers, to Blimpie employees and to other inmates once incarcerated, only helped the FBI develop even more probable cause, according to the affidavit released by the United States Attorney's office.

At his initial appearance after being taken into custody, Brown hired a federal public defender and his attorney spoke briefly to the United States Attorney.

News 3 reporters overheard the prosecutor say he was going to fight for more charges for Brown and he intends to prove that Brown is a flight risk and a danger to the community.

We know the judge has the final say on whether or not Brown will be granted a bond, but News 3 will provide updates from inside Federal Court as soon as that decision comes down.