Man Accused of Faking Death to Evade Rape Charges Denies Identity, Faces Extradition
Salt Lake City, Utah – In a surprising turn of events, Nicholas Rossi, a man accused of faking his death in order to escape rape charges in Utah, appeared in court on Tuesday to deny his involvement in the alleged crime. Speaking in an apparent British accent, Rossi, also known as Nicholas Alahverdian, dismissed claims that he was using a false identity as “complete hearsay.”
The charges against Rossi stem from an incident that occurred back in 2008, when a 21-year-old woman in Orem, Utah was allegedly raped. However, Rossi was only identified as a suspect 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, 36, identified himself in court as Arthur Knight Brown and provided a different birthdate in British format, listing the day first, followed by the month and year. During the court appearance, Rossi, who appeared via video from jail while wearing an oxygen mask, did not enter a plea and struggled to communicate at times, having to lift his mask to be heard.
Deputy Salt Lake County attorney Tamara Basuez revealed that Rossi has not acknowledged his true name or birthdate since his return to Utah. However, Rossi objected to this claim, stating, “Objection, my lady, that is complete hearsay,” to the judge.
Rossi is currently being held without the possibility of bail in the Orem case. A detention hearing has been scheduled for January 26th, during which a lawyer will be appointed for him. Though Rossi claims to already have legal representation, his attorney reportedly did not receive notice of Tuesday’s hearing.
Rossi, who grew up in foster homes in Rhode Island, gained notoriety in the state for his vocal criticism of the Department of Children, Youth and Families. In 2020, he made headlines when he announced that he was suffering from late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had only weeks to live. An obituary was even published online, claiming that he had died on February 29th, 2020.
Authorities have revealed that Rossi has used at least 10 different aliases throughout the years. His evasion of the law came to an end in December 2021, when he was arrested in Scotland after being recognized by someone at a hospital while receiving treatment for COVID-19. Despite his claims of being an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight, Rossi has been repeatedly seen in court in a wheelchair, using an oxygen mask, and speaking with a British accent.
After a lengthy court battle, the extradition of Rossi was approved by Judge Norman McFadyen of Edinburgh Sheriff Court in August. The judge described Rossi as “dishonest and deceitful” and noted his evasive and manipulative behavior.
The legal proceedings surrounding this case continue, with Rossi facing extradition back to the United States to face the rape charges that have been brought against him.