FBI: More DNA evidence against man accused in Ashanti Billie’s death

Eric Brown (Photo courtesy: Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The man accused in the kidnapping and killing of Ashanti Billie was in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.

Ashanti Billie (Family Photo).

Billie disappeared in late September, when she didn’t show up to work at her job on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

Police found her body almost two weeks later in Charlotte, North Carolina. Eric Brian Brown, a 45-year-old retired Navy veteran, has been charged in Billie’s death.

In court Tuesday, the FBI said it received new DNA evidence just back from the lab they say makes the case against Brown even stronger. They say Brown’s DNA matches samples taken from the steering wheel, gear shift, headlight switch, and turn signal of Billie’s mini cooper.

The judge found probable cause for the kidnapping case to move forward. A separate murder charge is pending in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Court documents say Brown was a homeless retired Navy veteran who did construction at the shop where Billie worked in Norfolk. According to witnesses, he made crude sexual comments to Billie and attempted to flirt on several occasions.

In court today, Brown waived his right to a detention hearing and will remain behind bars at Western Tidewater Regional Jail.

Billie’s father told reporters outside court today, he’s trying to forgive.

“That’s the world we need to be in we need to be in a world of forgiveness. That’s the biggest problem we hold grudges that’s why we cant move forward with the way things are,” said Meltony Billie.

Billie’s family expressed in a news conference last week that they were glad to see justice finally served in their daughter’s case.

“You knew exactly what you were doing. You preyed upon an innocent young lady, who happened to be my child, and that was the biggest mistake that you made. Promise you,” said Meltony Billie, Ashanti’s father.

Brandy Billie, mother of Ashanti Billie, speaks at a news conference Nov. 9, 2017. Family addressed the media the day after authorities announced an arrest had been made in her disappearance and death. (WAVY Photo).