Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia -For gravely stabbing and bludgeoning a coworker over stolen lunch in a Target parking lot in 2021, a 25-year-old man will likely serve the remainder of his life in prison.
Bazen Berhe was convicted of the first-degree murder of Hernan Leiva, age 58, by a magistrate on January 30. A news release issued by Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano stated that Berhe was sentenced to 100 years in prison, with 30 years of his sentence suspended.
Berhe entered a guilty plea to the charge on October 20, 2023.
Fairfax County Police were dispatched to the 5100 block of Leesburg Pike on April 17, 2021, at approximately 3:30 a.m., where they discovered Leiva with apparent puncture wounds and blunt force injuries to the upper body. He was pronounced deceased at the scene by authorities.
Descano reports that on April 14, 2021, Berhe was enraged with his Target custodian colleague Leiva, whom he accused of stealing his lunch from the office refrigerator. Berhe began “training for the murder” on April 16, and reportedly purchased a hammer and two knives the day before his shift ended.
Berhe, according to Descano, went to the Target parking lot early on April 17 to await the arrival of Leiva. Berhe “stabbed and bludgeoned him to death prior to fleeing” after he materialized.
Shortly thereafter, Berhe reportedly returned to the parking lot and voluntarily surrendered to the police. Initially, he was accused of second-degree homicide. Descano noted that Berhe “threatened to kill or harm others if not given the harshest possible sentence” during the sentencing hearing.
Descano commented in a statement that “Mr. Leiva’s unnecessary and tragic death leaves behind a grieving family and community, one that will never be the same after such a senseless act of violence.”
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