The family of Mohammad Anwar, the upstanding Pakistani immigrant who drove for UberEats to help make a better way for his family, confronted one of Anwar's killers in court last week during her sentencing.
What is the background?
Anwar's accused killers — two female teenagers, aged 13 and 15 — were charged with felony murder for killing Anwar.
The girls, armed with a stun gun, were attempting to carjack Anwar when, while he attempted to defend himself, the girls sped off with Anwar on the outside of the car. The car then crashed down the road, flipping on its side and flinging Anwar's body into a building. The girls were quickly detained by National Guard soldiers.
Shockingly, as one of the girls was being detained, she voiced concern for her cellphone, which she believed was still inside the vehicle, as Anwar's broken body lay on the sidewalk. Neither the soldiers nor nearby witnesses rushed to Anwar's aid.
Despite the callousness of the crime, prosecutors declined to charge the 15-year-old as an adult and were prohibited by Washington, D.C., law from charging the 13-year-old as an adult. Still, prosecutors offered the girls a plea bargain that allowed them to plead guilty to murder in exchange for other charges being dropped. The result is that both girls will serve minimal detention sentences.
What did the family say?
A judge sentenced the 15-year-old girl in juvenile court on Friday, handing out the maximum sentence allowable — just six years inside a juvenile detention facility. She will be released when she turns 21.
D.C. Judge Lynn Leibovitz denounced the "unthinkable crime" and chided the defendant for being "unfeeling," but it was Anwar's family who delivered the real verbal punch.
Unfortunately, Anwar's family was not allowed in court and were forced to read their victim statements virtually.
Anwar's daughter told the defendant directly that she will never forgive her.
I cannot get past the fact of him enduring the pain of the injuries you caused him, I cannot move past that sidewalk of N Street on March 23rd, where my Abbu [father] lay broken, while one of you was only concerned about your phone. Please tell me have you ever had a fracture? It is the worst pain anyone can go through and let me tell you clearly, you broke most of the bones in his body. I can never forgive you for that PAIN, the fact that you killed him comes way after his pain. No amount of years you spend in any facility can ever make you go through even one percent of that pain.
Even if you try to shake it off as a mistake in your life, always remember that you INTENDED to cause him pain. You had planned to tase the person whoever come in your way. How DARE YOU? How dare you use that taser on my father? The kindest man who never even killed an ant, why did he had to be in so much pain? I hope you never forget your intention to harm an innocent human. You did not kill one person that day, you killed his whole family. That pain he had to go through, will be our heartache till our last days, and we will never ever forget you were the cause of this pain.
Anwar's niece also decried the defendant being more concerned about a cellphone than Anwar and rebuked the sensational media coverage of Anwar's tragic death.
There is so much our family has endured in these few months since March 23rd . While we were literally at the cemetery for his burial, we learned a video of the incident was uploaded to the internet and went viral quickly after, including in Pakistan which is half a world away. I cannot begin to tell you how agonizing and devastating it is to watch your loved one die so violently and have the world view it as entertainment on websites like World Star Hip Hop and TMZ.
There are nights we cannot sleep and the horrific video replays in our heads over and over and over again. We are haunted by the image of his broken, crumpled body lying on the pavement and him struggling to move. It is incredibly heartbreaking to watch the respondents lack empathy and immediately cry out for their cell phones while he is lying literally at their feet. We can't believe that a witness would share this video with the world and no longer trust many people outside our family. While the respondents and their privacy are protected by the juvenile court system, the video now lives on the internet forever and my uncle isn't even afforded dignity in his death.
However, when Anwar's niece addressed the defendant directly, she voiced the value of the defendant's life and expressed hope that hers would not be wasted.
"Any sentence you receive today will not bring my uncle back. While you may not have seen value in his life in those moments, we do see value in yours," she said. "Your life is valuable. Your entire life is ahead of you and you will have the opportunity to live a good life, if you so choose. We hope you will learn from this and choose to go on to do great things and be a productive member of society."
Tragically, prosecutors revealed in court that Anwar displayed kindness to the girls, even up to the moment they killed him.
"Anwar had shown the girls nothing but kindness on March 23, 2021, even as they plotted to steal his car, according to prosecutors. He agreed to give the girls a ride in his Honda Accord, but when they got to a side street near the ballpark, the girls tried to take his car and his belongings, according to prosecutors," WUSA-TV reported.
Still, the 15-year-old reportedly expressed remorse during her sentencing.
"No matter how much stuff I've been through, I never wanted to hurt someone," she said, according to WUSA. "None of this was intentional, in other words, I never thought this would go through ... If I could take it back, I would."
The 13-year-old girl pled guilty to second-degree murder last Thursday. She will be sentenced next month.