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‘I don’t get to see her grow up’: Parent ‘haunted’ by Halifax County murder as killer gets life sentence

The parents of two young people brutally murdered on a rural highway earlier this year in southside are still looking for answers, even after the killer was sentenced to life in prison.

[19-year-old receives four life sentences for Halifax County double murder]

Prosecutors in Halifax County said Mohamed Aly pled guilty on Thursday to killing 21-year-old Joel Bianda and 18-year-old Ayanna Griffin. However, authorities still don’t know his motive.

Mohamed Aly at the time of his arrest in February 2020. (Blue Ridge Regional Jail)

Aly, as well as Bianda and Griffin, are all from Alexandria and were driving to Danville to visit a friend. Aly confessed that he shot the couple and left their bodies on the side of Highway 58.

The mother of one of the victims said she believes justice was served, adding that even though Aly apologized, she’ll never be able to forgive him for what he took.

“It haunts me every single day,” said Ayanna’s mother, Melissa Griffin. “I’ll never get to see her married, I’ll never get to see her have kids, graduate college...you know, I don’t get to see that. I don’t get to see her grow up.”

Griffin said she also believes Aly pled guilty to avoid the death penalty.


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