June 13 (UPI) — An Australian man who killed an Arab-Israeli exchange student pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of rape and murder.
Codey Herrmann entered the plea in an Australian courtroom, admitting guilt in the January death of Aiia Maasarwe as she returned from a comedy show in Melbourne. Maasarwe was talking with her sister when she was attacked. The 21-year-old’s body was found hours later near a tram depot.
Police arrested Herrmann, 20, who was homeless at the time, after a brief investigation and manhunt. He will be sentenced in October.
Maasarwe was a student at La Trobe University in Melbourne for five months as an exchange from Shanghai University in China.
“What he did to Aiia wasn’t human,” father Saeed Maarsarwe said at her memorial service. “She was always smiling, she loved people. She had an open mind and wanted to learn about new cultures. I wanted to be with her longer, but now that’s impossible. I pray that she is with God in heaven.”
Maasarwe’s death spurred protest from thousands in Australia calling for authorities to do more to ensure women are protected. More than 3,000 participated in the Sydney Women’s March shortly after the student’s death.