Man Denies Faking Death and Fleeing US to Avoid Rape Charges
Salt Lake City, Utah – In a surprising turn of events, Nicholas Rossi, who is also known as Nicholas Alahverdian, appeared in court on Tuesday to deny allegations that he faked his own death and fled the United States to avoid rape charges. Speaking in an apparent British accent, Rossi, 36, proclaimed his innocence and called the claims against him “complete hearsay.”
Rossi is accused of raping a 21-year-old woman in Orem, Utah, back in 2008. However, he wasn’t identified as a suspect until a decade later due to a backlog of DNA test kits at the Utah State Crime Lab. After being extradited from Scotland earlier this month, Rossi identified himself as Arthur Knight Brown and provided a birthdate format commonly used in British English, further adding to the confusion surrounding his identity.
During the court appearance, Rossi, who appeared via video from jail wearing an oxygen mask, did not enter a plea. His speech was at times difficult to understand, requiring him to lift his mask to be heard. Deputy Salt Lake County attorney Tamara Basuez stated that Rossi has yet to admit his true name or birthdate since returning to Utah, prompting his objection to the prosecutor’s statement as “complete hearsay.”
Rossi, who grew up in foster homes in Rhode Island, has a history of using multiple aliases. In the past, he gained attention for his vocal criticism of Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families. Four years ago, he claimed to have late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and even had an obituary published online stating that he had died in February 2020.
Authorities apprehended Rossi in Scotland in December 2021 after he was recognized at a hospital while being treated for COVID-19. He has consistently maintained that he is an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight and has never been to the United States. Despite his claims, a judge in Edinburgh ruled in August that his extradition could proceed, describing Rossi as “dishonest and deceitful.”
Rossi remains in jail without the possibility of bail in connection with the Orem rape case. A detention hearing has been scheduled for January 26, during which a lawyer will be appointed for him. The ongoing saga surrounding Rossi’s true identity and the charges against him continues to captivate both local and international audiences.
Source: AP News.