US fugitive accused of faking his death to avoid rape charges is booked into a Utah jail

Jan 8, 2024, 2:40 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A U.S. fugitive known as Nicholas Rossi, who is accused of faking his own death and fleeing the country to avoid rape charges, is in a Utah jail after he was extradited from Scotland last week, jail records showed on Monday.

Rossi, whose legal name is Nicholas Alahverdian, is charged with sexually assaulting a 21-year-old woman in Orem, Utah, in 2008, according to local prosecutors. He was not identified as a suspect until about a decade later, due to a backlog of DNA test kits at the Utah State Crime Lab.

Rossi faces another felony rape charge in Salt Lake County, where prosecutors say he sexually assaulted a 26-year-old former girlfriend after an argument, also in 2008. He faces multiple other complaints against him in Rhode Island and Ohio for alleged domestic violence, sexual abuse and fraud.

The 36-year-old, who has used at least 10 aliases in his run from the law, was booked Friday afternoon into the Davis County Jail, which houses many federal detainees in northern Utah. He will likely be transferred to Utah County in the coming days, where he will stand trial for felony rape charges, according to the Utah County Attorney’s Office.

His initial court date had not been set as of Monday and records did not yet indicate who will represent him in court.

The American fugitive grew up in foster homes in Rhode Island and had returned to the state before allegedly faking his death and fleeing the country. An obituary published online claimed Rossi died Feb. 29, 2020, of late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma. But state police and his former foster family questioned whether he was really dead.

Rossi was arrested in Scotland the following year after he was recognized at a Glasgow hospital while receiving treatment for COVID-19. He insisted he was an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight who had never traveled to the U.S.

After a lengthy court battle, an Edinburgh judge ruled in August that the extradition could move forward. He called Rossi “as dishonest and deceitful as he is evasive and manipulative.” Rossi lost an appeal in December and was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service.

National News

Associated Press

Sweltering temperatures persist across the US, while floodwaters inundate the Midwest

Millions of Americans sweated through a scorching weekend as temperatures soared across the U.S., while residents were rescued from floodwaters that forced evacuations across the Midwest. One person was killed during flooding in South Dakota, the governor said. From the mid-Atlantic to Maine, across the Great Lakes region, and throughout the West to California, public […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

3 Columbia University administrators put on leave over alleged text exchange at antisemitism panel

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia University said it has placed three administrators on leave while it investigates allegations that they exchanged unprofessional text messages while attending a panel discussion about antisemitism on campus. The university said the administrators work for its undergraduate Columbia College, which hosted the panel discussion “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Man charged in shooting that critically wounded Philadelphia officer, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 36-year-old Philadelphia man was charged Sunday with attempted murder in connection with a shooting that critically wounded a police officer after a traffic stop, police said. Ramon Rodriguez Vazquez also faces charges that include aggravated assault and home invasion, police said. The 31-year-old officer and his partner stopped a car carrying […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

California boy, 4, who disappeared from campground found safe after 22 hours alone in wilderness

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 4-year-old California boy who wandered away from a campground in the Sierra National Forest was found safe after spending 22 hours alone in the wilderness, authorities said. A search-and-rescue team of about 50 officers and volunteers set out around 11 a.m. Thursday after the child was reported missing from the […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

One man died and five others were hospitalized in downtown St. Louis shooting

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One man is dead and five others have been wounded in a downtown St. Louis shooting, police said. Police believe women were fighting in a park when men stepped in and drew firearms, according to a statement from St. Louis police. The man who died likely was in his mid-twenties and […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Michigan sheriff’s deputy fatally shot pursuing a stolen vehicle in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan county sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot while pursing a suspected stolen vehicle in Detroit, the Oakland County sheriff’s office said Sunday. Bradley J. Reckling, who was on duty in an unmarked car, was following a 2022 Chevy Equinox Saturday evening after the vehicle was reported stolen earlier in the day […]

12 hours ago

US fugitive accused of faking his death to avoid rape charges is booked into a Utah jail