Daniel Beckwitt, a millionaire day trader, feared a possible missile attack from North Korea, so he hired Askia Khafra in 2017 to help him dig a network of tunnels 20 feet deep and spanning roughly 200 feet in three directions under his property in Bethesda, Maryland. An electrical fire broke out in Beckwitt's basement while Khafra was working inside. Khafra tried to escape but was trapped by hoarding-like conditions inside the basement. Khafra died of smoke inhalation and burns. Beckwitt initially met Khafra online and invested money in a start-up project. To hide the location of his home from Khafra, Beckwitt would pick Khafra up from his home, have him wear black out glasses, and drive him around for an hour before taking him to the house in Bethesda. He also told Khafra the property was located in rural Virginia.
Marybeth Ayres, Chief, Felony Division I, Douglas Wink, Assistant State's Attorney, Felony Division I
Incident Type: Fire
Date: Sept. 10, 2017
Folder for Daniel Beckwitt materials
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||Pleaded not guilty
||Convicted of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Sentenced to 9 years in prison.
Penal Crimes: Second Degree Murder (Sec. 2-204); Involuntary Manslaughter (Sec. 2-207(a))
Other Crimes: None