Man Accused of Faking Death in Utah Rape Case Denies Identity in Court

Man Accused of Faking Death and Fleeing US Denies Charges in Utah Court Appearance

Salt Lake City (AP) – In a surprising court appearance on Tuesday, a man accused of faking his death and fleeing the United States to evade rape charges in Utah vehemently denied being the suspect. Nicholas Rossi, also known as Nicholas Alahverdian, is facing charges for the rape of a 21-year-old woman in Orem, Utah, back in 2008. Prosecutors claim that Rossi’s true identity wasn’t discovered until a decade later due to a backlog of DNA test kits at the Utah State Crime Lab.

Rossi, 36, was recently extradited from Scotland, where he had been living. During the court appearance, he identified himself as Arthur Knight Brown and provided a birthdate using the British format, with the day listed first, followed by the month and year, which differs from Rossi’s actual date of birth.

Appearing via video from jail, Rossi wore an oxygen mask and did not enter a plea during the initial court hearing. At times, his speech was difficult to understand, and he had to lift his mask to be heard.

Deputy Salt Lake County attorney Tamara Basuez stated that Rossi has not admitted his true name or birthdate since returning to Utah. However, Rossi objected to this claim, calling it “complete hearsay.”

Rossi is currently being held without the possibility of bail in connection with the Orem case. A detention hearing has been scheduled for January 26th.

During his time in Rhode Island, Rossi gained attention for his vocal criticism of the state’s Department of Children, Youth and Families. He also used multiple aliases over the years, according to prosecutors.

Rossi’s capture occurred when he was recognized by someone at a hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, while receiving treatment for COVID-19. He had consistently maintained that he was an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight and had never been to the United States.

After a lengthy court battle, Judge Norman McFadyen of Edinburgh Sheriff Court ruled in August that Rossi could be extradited. The judge described Rossi as both deceitful and manipulative.

As the case continues to unfold, Rossi’s true identity and the details surrounding his alleged crimes will be closely examined. Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.

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