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On Nov. 17, DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun sentenced a homicide defendant to eight years in connection to a fatal car crash.
Reginald Roland Johnson, 31, was originally charged with second-degree murder for allegedly striking and killing 24-year-old Carlos Christian, and severely injuring Christian’s fiancée with his vehicle on Jan. 15, at the intersection of 15th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NW.
On June 30, Johnson accepted an agreement that required him to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and assault with a dangerous weapon. As a result, his second-degree murder charge was dropped and prosecution agreed to not request his detention pending sentencing.
Some forty family members and friends of Christian’s attended the sentencing, wearing pins with his face on them and providing their victim impact statements.
A friend stated, “The void left by Carlos’ presence is palpable and painful”.
During their impact statements, the parents of Christian’s fiancée remarked on the loving relationship between the pair. They had known each other since they were kids and started dating in high school, before eventually moving to DC together to complete their master’s degrees.
The parents stated, “If such actions are not condemned by the full weight of the law, there’s no way that anyone can feel safe”.
Christian’s fiancée also addressed the court, remarking on the amount of physical and emotional pain she had been in since the incident. She stated, “It took over six months for me to muster the courage to drive again”.
She also expressed the grief of losing the love of her life, stating “He was the perfect match for my heart and soul. I will have to miss Carlos for the rest of my life”.
Prosecution stated Johnson was in a bar drinking for nearly five hours before getting into his vehicle to drive to another bar.
Johnson’s defense attorney, Derrick Hamlin, rebutted that Johnson was sorrowful about his actions. He argued Johnson had never been incarcerated and any amount of jail time would be an immense burden.
Hamlin reflected on Johnson’s being the CEO of his own construction company, and his involvement in numerous community service activities including educating youth and serving meals. Hamlin stated, “He never plans to drink again”.
Johnson’s fiancée expressed her condolences to the family and asked the judge to consider his background prior to the incident. She stated, “The actions of his on Jan. 15 are in no way an indication of who he is”.
Johnson said, “If I could trade places with [the victim], I would”. He said he would be committed to starting a nonprofit against drunk driving and was attending AA meetings. “I have a lot of people I need to make amends to for my destructive actions”.
Judge Okun prefaced his sentencing by stating, “This is just a sad day. I feel as if you all suffered”. He took into consideration Johnson’s background and the seriousness of the case, remarking on how he did not believe the minimum or maximum sentence would fit.
Johnson was sentenced to five years for involuntary manslaughter and three years for assault with a dangerous weapon, with the sentences running consecutively to each other.
In total, Johnson will serve eight years in prison. He was also sentenced to three years of probation for each charge, which will run concurrently. Judge Okun required him to pay $100 to the Victims of Violent Crime Compensation Act (VVCCA), get mental health treatment, attend alcohol and traffic safety programs, and a victim impact panel. He was also ordered to not drive in DC and not get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or narcotics.
Before Johnson was taken away, Judge Okun stated “You’re going to have a lot of your life ahead of you”.Notifications are not yet available for this specific case. Please check back later for updates. Thank you.