Based on DNA testing and blood-spattered clothing, Bristol County prosecutors charged a 20-year-old man Friday with the execution-style slaying of a 31-year-old Fall River woman who was robbed of $6, some heroin, and her cellphone after the killing.
Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter identified the accused shooter as Brandyn LePage, a Fall River man who was quickly named as a potential suspect in the Sept. 29 fatal shooting and has been in custody on possession of illegal firearms and obstruction of justice charges since Oct. 2.
LePage is accused of killing 31-year-old Aja Pasqual, who was shot around 1:25 p.m. as she sat in her car on Cherry Street in Fall River. She was shot once in the head and was found slumped against the broken driver’s side window of the car with its engine running and the radio on.
“It appears as if it was a drug transaction,’’ Sutter said.
He said LePage met Pasqual for a drug deal and robbed her after killing her.
Sutter said Fall River and State Police tracked down phone records shortly after the woman was killed and discovered that LePage had made numerous calls to Pasqual just before she was killed.
Based on interviews with people familiar with LePage, police also searched a number of residences and locations where they believed LePage had been living, or staying, in the hours and and days after the killing. At one place in Fall River, police recovered a .38-
caliber handgun with one round fired from the chamber and some blood-spattered clothing, Sutter said.
Prosecutors said the gun was allegedly used to kill Pasqual, but ballistics tests could not directly tie the gun to the slaying because the recovered bullet was damaged during the killing.
But Sutter said that DNA testing links LePage to the gun and that forensic tests show that blood found on LePage’s clothing belonged to Pasqual. LePage was questioned by detectives after the gun was recovered, during which he lied to them and was arrested for gun possession and obstruction of justice, Sutter said.
LePage pleaded not guilty to all charges, but has been held on $50,000 cash bail, giving investigators more time to interview acquaintances and dig deeper into LePage’s movements and to await the results of forensic tests.
Sutter said LePage is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Fall River District Court on murder and armed robbery charges.John Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.