Robertson Indicted for Murder of Fairfax Man

Robertson Indicted for Murder of Fairfax Man

Judge hears recording of his confession during hearing.



Aaron James Anthony Robertson didn’t know Fairfax resident Luis Barahona Reyes, 50, before brutally attacking him. But Robertson, 30, had been drinking all day and had a temper. So when Reyes approached him and suggested something that angered Robertson, the Fairfax man paid for it with his life.

The details came out, Dec. 13, in Fairfax County General District Court, during Robertson’s preliminary hearing on a charge of second-degree murder. And when it ended, Judge Lisa Mayne certified his case to the grand jury – which then indicted him.

Fairfax City Police Det. Joe Pittman, with the Major Crimes unit, testified that he was one of six detectives who responded June 10, 2023, at 9:21 a.m., to the crime scene. “I received a call about a body found behind 9715 Fairfax Blvd.,” he said. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Bolton then showed him five photos of that scene, which Pittman identified.

“At the rear of a single-level building under construction, we found red handprints on the back wall and in the parking lot,” said the detective. “And there was a puddle of blood, 5-10 yards from the building, near the air-conditioning unit, and dragging marks – and two feet sticking out from cardboard boxes covered with bags.”

Pittman said the victim was a fully clothed male with dark hair, “a large gash on the right side of his temple, an indentation on the right side of his head, and bruising on his face. He was on top of a mattress saturated with blood; I then saw wounds on his neck, as well.” Police later identified him as Reyes. 

After seeing footage from surveillance cameras there, Pittman said police identified Robertson as the suspect. He then identified the defendant in court.

Pittman also obtained a video showing both men riding on a City CUE bus before their encounter. Played in court, the video showed them on it, June 9, shortly after 11 p.m. Pittman said the nearest CUE bus stop to the crime scene was at Draper Drive, some 350 yards from where Reyes was found.

Robertson had no fixed address; but on June 11, the detective got a search warrant for his room at a Fair Oaks hotel where he was known to stay with his girlfriend. “We seized Reyes’s shoes there,” said Pittman. “The top and side of the right shoe was covered with blood, and a DNA examination identified it as belonging to Reyes.” Bolton then entered the DNA report into evidence.

Pittman said police continued to investigate and talk to people in the vicinity of the crime scene. Eventually, they built a timeline of both men’s whereabouts on June 9. On July 5, Pittman obtained an arrest warrant charging Robertson with second-degree murder; and the next day, Fairfax County police arrested him.

Then, on Sept. 12, Robertson asked Pittman to come to the jail and speak with him. He also said his attorney, Mike Sprano, said it was OK for him to talk to the police. So on Sept. 13, after being advised of his Miranda rights, Robertson spoke to Pittman and another detective while being videotaped.

Some 17 minutes of that recording were played for the court. In it, Robertson explained what led up to Reyes’s death and, in graphic detail, how he killed the Fairfax man. 

He said he got into an argument with his fiancé on June 9, and she pepper-sprayed him, so he packed his things and left. “And from that morning, I was drinking that whole day, two to four beers at a time,” said Robertson. “That night, I was drinking near Wawa [directly across the street from the crime scene] and didn’t know where I’d go stay that night.”

When he got off the bus, he said, a man [Reyes] was whistling behind him, but he kept walking. “He said, ‘Hey,’ and was speaking in Spanish,” said Robertson. “He seemed like he needed help getting home.” But then, said Robertson, “He [allegedly] said, ‘Me and you go back there’ and he pointed behind a building and [reportedly] said, ‘Sex; I give you money.’”

“So I got upset,” said Robertson. “We walked across the street, behind the building, and I put my bags down. I knocked him out and he hit his head hard. I took his beer and poured it over him and walked away. But I thought I should check on this dude.”

Robertson said he returned, asked Reyes if he was all right and told him he wasn’t gay. “He said something in Spanish, stood up near the wall and went in his pocket and got a small knife and lunged toward me with his right hand,” said Robertson. “I told him to back up, but he lunged again.

“I hit him, knocked him down, took the knife out of his hand and started choking him. And I hit his head on the ground and kicked his head with my right foot. He stands up, but I kicked his butt and he fell over.” 

Next, Robertson described how he picked up a nearby brick and hit Reyes with it. And when it broke, he got another brick and continued battering Reyes with that one. Noticing the victim was still breathing, Robertson said he then used the man’s knife to stab him.

Afterward, he said, “I left my bags there and walked into the 7-Eleven and washed the blood off my hands. I walked back over there and didn’t know what to do. I never did nothing like that in my life. That wasn’t my intention; I was scared. I got his arms and pulled him to the dumpster and covered him with cargo boxes and trash bags.”

Robertson said he wanted to tell the police what happened because “I knew it was wrong. I didn’t want to hurt that man, and I feel bad about it. I’ve been homeless for six years and was about to start a new job.”

When the video ended, Det. Pittman described the knife as a small pocketknife with a 6-inch blade. He said Robertson told them he’d put it in a plastic bag and threw it in a sewer in Maryland, near his grandmother’s house.

While cross-examining the detective, Sprano said Robertson told him he was scared when Reyes came at him with a knife and blacked out while he was hitting him. But Pittman said Robertson told police he remembered what he did, but not what his thinking was, at that time.

Realizing that, after everything she’d heard, Judge Mayne was going to certify the case against his client to the grand jury, Sprano argued that the charge against Robertson should be a lesser one of manslaughter. He said this crime didn’t involve malice – one of the elements of a second-degree murder charge – and that “fear could cause someone to act on impulse without reasonable provocation.”

But the prosecutor disagreed. “Malice can be inferred by the use of a weapon,” said Bolton. “[Robertson] said he was angry. He stopped several times and knocked [Reyes] out. And he broke two bricks on the man and then stabbed him until he was no longer breathing. The defendant caused the death, and he only went to the back of the building with the man because he was angry.”

Mayne then ruled there was “sufficient evidence of probable cause to believe [Robertson] committed second-degree murder,” and sent his case to the grand jury for possible indictment. On Dec. 20, it indicted Robertson on that charge, and he’s now scheduled for a jury trial, April 22, in Circuit Court. Meanwhile, he remains held without bond in jail, where he’s been since his arrest.