Suspect Who Allegedly Faked Death Denies Identity

Suspect Who Allegedly Faked Death Denies Identity

( – Some criminals will do anything to get away with the crimes, including assuming another name or faking their deaths. That’s exactly how prosecutors say Nicholas Rossi, whose real name is Nicholas Alahverdian, is trying to beat his rap. He recently caused a lot of confusion in a Utah court.

Prosecutors accused Rossi of raping a 21-year-old woman back in 2008, though they couldn’t identify him as a suspect in the case until 2018 because of a testing backlog at the Utah State Crime Lab. Rather than face the charges, prosecutors allege Rossi fled the country, landing in Scotland, from whence they recently extradited him.

The suspect, who has reportedly used nearly a dozen aliases over the past few years, identified himself as Arthur Knight Brown in court. He also gave a different birthdate than his own and spoke in a British accent, confusing the judge. He denied being Alahverdian and insisted he was a victim of mistaken identity. He went so far as to accuse police of taking his fingerprints while he lay in a coma to connect him erroneously to the crime.

Rossi appeared in a virtual hearing wearing an oxygen mask and constantly interrupted the judge, who cut him off each time. She set a detention hearing for January 26. Authorities are currently holding him without bond.

Further complicating matters, an obituary in Rhode Island, where Rossi grew up, said he died in February 2020. However, authorities cast doubt on whether the obituary was real. Former Rhode Island State Attorney General Jeffrey Pine spoke to The Associated Press and said he had zero doubt that the man who claimed to be Knight was, in reality, Rossi.

Authorities recognized Rossi while doctors provided him treatment at a Glasgow hospital in December 2021. Staff recognized his picture from a wanted notice, which displayed his distinctive tattoos. The suspect further claimed that he received those tattoos without his permission while comatose because police were trying to frame him.

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