Join us.

We’re working to create a just society and preserve a healthy environment for future generations. Donate today to help.


Return to Incidents Database Search Page

Daniel Beckwitt


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







September 10, 2017

Available case materials include

  • Media Clips & Gov't. Press

Contact for Additional Information



First Last Age Title Employer Injury Type
Askia Khafra 21 Info unavailable Daniel Beckwitt Fatality


Name Type Title Plea Information Conviction Sentence
Daniel Beckwitt Individual None Pleaded not guilty The trial court convicted Beckwitt of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. JHe was sentenced to 9 years in prison. Maryland Court of Appeals reversed conviction of second-degree murder charge, but allowed the involuntary manslaughter charge to stand. After the murder charged was overturned, Beckwitt was re-sentenced to 5 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. He received credit for the nearly-three years he had already served in prison. The judge included five years of supervised probation after his release and 250 hours of community service.
Penal Crimes Charged

Second Degree Murder (Sec. 2-204); Involuntary Manslaughter (Sec. 2-207(a))

Other Crimes Charged