By D.C. Witness Staff - June 4, 2021
A DC Superior Court judge sentenced a 15-year-old girl to the maximum sentence allowed for felony murder in juvenile cases.
The girl, who was 15 at the time of the crime, is charged in the March 23 murder of 66-year-old Mohammad Anwar.
The juvenile, along with a 13-year-old girl, tried to carjack Anwar on the 1200 block of Van Street, SE. The girls were armed with a stun gun and, when Anwar accelerated the car, it ran into a tree, which flipped the car. Anwar was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
“He might just be a name, a victim, but let me tell you what an angel the world lost that day,” Anwar’s daughter said during the June 4 sentencing hearing.
The 15-year-old girl pleaded guilty to felony murder in May.
At least six members of Anwar’s family were present for the virtual hearing. Three of them gave statements.
“He was more than just an Uber driver,” said Anwar’s niece. “He was a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and a cousin…he would never cause harm to anyone else.”
Anwar’s niece went on to recount how he was a deeply religious man, and Ramadan was his absolute favorite time of year, which they all had to celebrate without him.
She went on to say that he worked in Kuwait his entire life while his wife and family were in Pakistan. He worked so they could have a better life and one day be together in the U.S. She said that he was only driving for Uber in order to keep himself busy during the pandemic, and he was planning on starting his own business.
“You did not kill one person that day. You killed a whole family.” In closing, she said that she hopes the girl makes something good out of her life.
“We know that no punishment today will bring my uncle back,” she said. “While you may not have seen value in those moments [during Anwar’s death], we see value in yours…your entire life is ahead of you…we hope you choose to do productive things and be a productive member of society.”
All three family members who shared their statements spoke of how the system has failed them and failed Anwar. They mentioned that they often found out about events from the media, and they lamented that carjackings by juveniles are still rising in the city. “[I hope] that my father is given true justice…I hope that justice prevails,” said Anwar’s daughter.
The juvenile’s defense attorney, Edward Shackley, said they were there because people need to learn about making good decisions and some kids learn a little too late. “The purpose of the juvenile system is rehabilitation. The first part of that is learning your mistake,” he said.
Shackley said the girl is extremely remorseful about her mistake, and she knows she needs to do better in the future. He said that they took no position on the sentence the court might impose.
Judge Lynn Leibovitz asked the girl if she wanted to say anything. “I never intended to murder someone. I would never intentionally hurt someone…If I could take it back, I would,” she said, apologizing to the family.
“No sentence can bring Mr. Anwar back,” said Judge Leibovitz. “The respondent committed an unthinkable crime. Mohammad Anwar died in a terrible way.”
The judge sentenced the juvenile to the maximum sentence, and she will be held under the supervision of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) until she is 21.
“This process is rehabilitative so that no one else suffers the fate of Mr. Anwar,” said Judge Leibovitz.
In closing, she said, “I hope you fully appreciate how much pain you have caused people.”
The 13-year-old girl is expected to be sentenced in July for second-degree murder.
This article was written by Krystin Roehl