The daughter of the first U.S. director of national intelligence was sentenced to spend over three decades in prison on Friday.
Sophia Negroponte, 30, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the stabbing murder of Yousuf Rasmussen, 24, according to the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office in Maryland.
She faced up to 40 years behind bars after she was found guilty of murder in the second degree in January for killing the victim during a drunken argument inside an Airbnb in Maryland in February 2020.
Sophia Negroponte and Rasmussen were friends. They attended the same high school. On the night in question, they were with another friend and drinking. Eventually, she got drunk.
“Ms. Negroponte and the victim had verbally argued on two occasions during the evening,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said earlier this year. “[Rasmussen] decided that he was gonna leave, went to leave, then realized that he’d left his cellphone in the house and came back in. At that point, Ms. Negroponte had armed herself with a knife and stabbed him multiple times, one being a death blow that severed his jugular.”
According to McCarthy, Negroponte fatally stabbed Rasmussen a few blocks from the courthouse, inside a carriage house behind a larger house on a property on West Montgomery Avenue.
“Alcohol pervades this case from the start; it pervades her life,” defense attorney David Moyse said in comments reported by local Fox affiliate WTTG. “And it is absolutely at the heart of what happened there that night. And it’s one of the major reasons that this is absolutely not a murder.”
She was also accused of premeditated murder in the first degree, but she was found not guilty of that greater charge.
At the trial, body camera footage showed officers speaking to a male witness outside the carriage house who says Negroponte and Rasmussen had been friends for years. They and several others had been at the residence drinking that evening before “some kind of altercation” escalated into violence.
“Anger and a little bit of punches – I’m like, trying to calm it down – and then all of a sudden she grabs a knife from the drawer, and all of a sudden she like pulls it,” the witness says, making a stabbing motion with his right hand. He then clarifies Negroponte “hit” Rasmussen in the neck with the knife as the two were “scuffling.”
“Yousuf was a kind and gentle soul, a loving person who brought our family and his many friends great joy in his 24 years of life,” Rasmussen’s family said in a statement. “We will carry him with us forever. To the family and friends from all over the world who have walked beside us on this difficult journey, we wish to express our deepest love and deepest appreciation for your support, for your prayers and for your compassion.”
John Negroponte was the first person appointed U.S. director of national intelligence (DNI). Sophia Negroponte was one of five children adopted by John and his wife, Diana Negroponte. Her father also served as ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush and, later, as the ambassador to Iraq following the U.S.-led invasion.
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