The autopsy of a 17-year-old Muslim girl murdered in Virginia last weekend could lead to a death penalty charge according to the commonwealth's attorney involved in the case. NBC's Washington affiliate initially reported that the body of Nabra Hassanen was found in a pond in the 21500 block of Ridgetop Circle in Sterling, last Sunday afternoon after a search that started between 3 and 4 a.m. Sunday morning. According to the report, she got into a dispute with a man in the car and was assaulted as she was walking with friends on their way to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center.

The makings of a hate crime

The attack on Nabra Hassanen reportedly took place around three in the morning. Her friends scattered during the assault after they had just left a local McDonalds. 22-year-old Darwin Martinez-Torres was later arrested for murdering Nabra. It was learned that she had been killed by the blows of an aluminum bat to the back of the head. For years, Republicans have made campaign speeches and frequent statements that have targeted Muslims, giving way to a broad demographic that holds anti-Muslim sentiment and which form the majority of Donald Trump's base.

Since Trump has been president, reports of Muslims being targeted have increased. At the beginning of the week, a British anti-Muslim attacker used a large van to plow into a group of Muslims who were leaving evening prayer in London injuring nine and killing one person.

ADAMS Center leaders were likely aware that Nabra was in danger due to many of these reports and being aware that one of their own was probably being targeted, they began their search around 4 a.m. with the Loudon and Fairfax County authorities.

Assault with a vehicle

During their search, a car was spotted driving suspiciously in the area which is when they spotted the suspect.

The pond where Nabra was found in was 2 to 3 miles away from where the altercation first happened. Despite the possibility that this could have been considered a hate crime, Police believed that this was a case of road rage and even made an official statement saying that they would not be investigating this as a hate crime.

Now, as the week as progressed, the prosecutor has said that charging as a hate crime is not off the table. NBC Washington had originally also reported that Torres had aimed the car towards the group that Nabra was in which is the reason they scattered only to learn later that she was not with them.

Vigil and vandalism

The use of a car to attack the group mimics that of other widely reported terrorist attacks using vehicles. Nabra Hassanen was the oldest of four siblings and a sophomore at South Lakes High School. The ADAMS Center said that they would determine the full motive of the crime and vowed to prosecute to the full extent of the law. With a charge of sexual assault would elevate it to capital murder and the commonwealth attorney will seek the death penalty.

A vigil for Nabra was held on Thursday near where she lived in Reston. A memorial that was set up at a fountain for Nabra near where she had been found was set on fire according to D.C. police which was confirmed by the New York Daily News. Here is a video of that report.