An Arlington County resident was sentenced to 65 years in prison last Friday for two sexual assaults, including one that occurred in Falls Church in 2014.
Alexandria City Circuit Court Judge Lisa B. Kemler sentenced Jesse Bjerke, 39, on Oct. 2 to serve 30 years in prison for the Falls Church sexual assault and 35 years for a similar sexual assault that took place in the City of Alexandria in 2016.
“The detectives assigned to the 2014 sexual assault case always strived for justice and closure for the victim,” Fairfax County Police Department Major Crimes Bureau Commander Maj. Ed O’Carroll said before the court accepted Bjerke’s no-contest plea earlier this year. “Our detectives never give up and I’m proud of their dedicated efforts on this case and all our others.”
According to Fairfax County police, the Falls Church assault took place at a community pool in the Yarling Court area on Aug. 1, 2014 when a man approached the victim, a 20-year-old female lifeguard.
The man displayed a firearm, used zip ties to bind the victim’s hands together, and injected her with the anesthetic drug Ketamine before sexually assaulting her.
A Virginia Department of Forensic Science analysis of evidence collected at the crime scene revealed the presence of Ketamine and DNA from an unknown man.
After submitting evidence from their case to the Department of Forensic Science, Alexandria City Police identified Bjerke as a strong person of interest and arrested him in February 2019 after a genetic genealogy analysis by Parabon NanoLabs confirmed that the same suspect had committed both assaults.
Investigators determined that Bjerke had also committed a sexual assault in Falls Church two years earlier after comparing forensic evidence collected at the crime scenes in both cases.
Fairfax County prosecutors indicted Bjerke for the Falls Church assault on Mar. 12. The charges included rape, object sexual penetration, abduction with intent to defile, and the use of a firearm in commission of a felony.
The venue for both cases shifted to the Alexandria City Circuit Court after Fairfax County and Alexandria prosecutors cooperated on a joint plea agreement and sentencing.
According to WTOP, Bjerke pleaded guilty to six felonies connected to the Alexandria sexual assault in October 2019. He pleaded no contest to the Falls Church case and was convicted in March.
Fairfax County police say that victim specialists from the department’s Major Crimes Bureau victim services division have been assigned to the case to provide resources and assistance to the victim.
Photo via Fairfax County Police Department