Man who authorities say faked his own death allegedly tried fake MySpace post in Dayton case

Nicholas Alahverdian speaking at the Rhode Island Statehouse in 2011.Credit...Bob Breidenbach/USA TODAY NETWORK

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Nicholas Alahverdian speaking at the Rhode Island Statehouse in 2011.Credit...Bob Breidenbach/USA TODAY NETWORK

A man who authorities said faked his own death and fled to Scotland may have tried to use a fabricated social media post years ago to get a new trial in a Dayton case in which he was convicted of multiple sex crimes.

Nicholas Rossi, 34, who also has gone by the name Nicholas Alahverdian, was arrested in Glasgow, Scotland, in connection to an international arrest warrant after he was identified while hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the New York Times.

The Utah Department of Public Safety said Rossi, who was using a different name while living in Scotland, fled the U.S. and tried to convince investigators and others that he had died.

Rossi allegedly died in February 2020 from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, according to an online obituary and memorial that officials believe he authored to try to trick people into thinking he was deceased.

Utah officials said the state public safety department several years ago established a team to review old sexual assault cases and test sexual assault kits that had not been tested.

In 2018, the team identified Nicholas Rossi as a suspect in a 2008 sexual assault in Utah, because the DNA in that case matched Rossi’s from a sexual assault case that occurred the same year in Dayton, the public safety department said.

On March 10, 2008, Rossi was convicted of sexual imposition and public indecency in Dayton Municipal Court.

Rossi, who was a student at Sinclair, made contact with a female student through Myspace, the social media platform, and he groped and assaulted her in a staircase at the college and sexually pleasured himself in front of her, court documents state.

Rossi was convicted on both counts and was required to complete a sex offender treatment program and register as a sex offender.

Rossi tried to get a new trial and appealed a decision denying him one in 2011.

Rossi claimed new evidence emerged after his trial that showed the victim fabricated her testimony on the witness stand about the sexual assault, according to a decision from the Ohio Second District Court of Appeals.

Rossi submitted what he claimed was a snapshot of a blog post that the victim posted to her Myspace page. In the post, the victim allegedly said she sent a stranger to jail to protect her relationship with her boyfriend.

In a hearing for a new trial, Dayton police Detective Doug Roderick testified that someone either altered or completely fabricated the Myspace post before it was submitted as “new evidence.”

Roderick, an expert in computer forensics, testified that the blog supposedly was posted to Myspace on Monday, May 16, 2008, but May 16 actually fell on a Friday that year, according to the appellate court decision.

He said the computer system never would have matched a date with the incorrect day of the week, and he said he was 90% sure the post was fake or altered.

Roderick said anyone who knew basic computer actions and who had access to basic computer programs could fabricate such a post. The victim denied authoring the post.

Rossi also could not produce an electronic copy of the file containing the blog post.

Rossi’s appeal was denied. U.S. authorities are working to extradite Rossi.

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