Daughter of former intelligence director guilty of stabbing man to death


Sophia Negroponte, the daughter of former Director National Intelligence John Negroponte, was found guilty of second-degree murder (credit: AP /Google Maps)

The daughter of a former US intelligence official was found guilty of fatally stabbing a man during a drunken argument in 2020.

Sophia Negroponte, 29, was convicted for the second-degree murder of Yousuf Rasmussen. She faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

In February 2020, police officers were called to an AirBnB in Rockville, Maryland, where they found Negroponte covered in blood. She was holding the 24-year-old’s body, who had been stabbed in the neck with a kitchen knife.

‘The victim and the defendant knew each other. They attended the same high school. Their friendship remained after high school,’ Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.


Yousuf Rasmussen was found stabbed to death in February 2020 (Picture: Montgomery County State Attorney’s Office)

On the night that Negroponte and Rasmussen met, ‘substantial amounts’ of alcohol were consumed, McCarthy said. Rasmussen left after getting into two verbal arguments with Negroponte, according to a witness who was also with them that night.

Rasmussen then returned to the AirBnB when he realized he forgot his cell phone. According to prosecutors, ‘Ms Negroponte armed herself with a knife, stabbed him multiple times – one being a death blow that severed his jugular.’

Defense attorneys asked the jury to factor in Negroponte’s history of alcoholism and the amount she drank on the night of the murder, arguing that she could not have formed specific intent to kill her friend.

‘Alcohol pervades this case from the start; it pervades her life,’ defense attorney David Moyse told the Jury. ‘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.’

Jurors eventually did find her guilty of second-degree murder, finding that she did intend to inflict serious bodily harm that would likely lead to death.

Negroponte was found not guilty of the most serious crime she was charged with – first-degree murder, which carries with it the possibility of a life sentence.

After the trial, Rasmussen’s parents thanked prosecutors, police, and the first responders that treated their son.

‘Yousuf was a kind and gentle soul,’ his mother Dr Zeba Rasmussen said after the trial concluded. ‘A loving person who brought our family and his many friends great joy in his 24 years of life. We will carry him with us forever.’

Negroponte is the daughter of John Negroponte, the former US Ambassador to Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, and Iraq. He later served as Deputy Secretary of State and as the first Director of National Intelligence in the George W Bush administration.

Sophia was one of five children he adopted during his tenure in Honduras.

The former ambassador stood by his daughter, and said his family plans to appeal her conviction.

‘Neither the prosecutors nor perhaps the jury took into sufficient consideration the complexities and mitigating circumstances of the case — Sophia’s past trauma and other factors that led to a very troubled existence. She’s had severe alcohol use disorder,’ he said.

A sentencing hearing for Negroponte has been scheduled for March 31. A judge also revoked her bond, which was originally granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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