Judge imposes 15-year sentence on passenger who killed cabdriver owed $130 fare

A jury convicted Evan D. Gargiulo in the November 2008 shooting.
A jury convicted Evan D. Gargiulo in the November 2008 shooting. (Courtesy Of Fairfax County Police Department - Courtesy Of Fairfax County Police Department)
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By Tom Jackman
Saturday, June 5, 2010

The man who shot a Fairfax County cabdriver to death, after he couldn't pay his $130 fare, was sentenced Friday in Fairfax Circuit Court to 15 years in prison.

The man had claimed that Mazhar Nazir, 49, who lived with his wife and son in the Baileys Crossroads area, came over the front seat at him after he revealed he had no cash for the ride from the District to Reston and then to Tysons Corner.

But evidence at trial showed Nazir was still wearing his seat belt and had been shot in the back of the head on Nov. 2, 2008.

In March, Evan D. Gargiulo, 23, a Hillsborough, N.J., man who had recently moved to Reston, claimed he was temporarily insane when he shot Nazir. A jury rejected that claim and convicted Gargiulo of second-degree murder. The jury then imposed a sentence of 12 years for the murder and three years for using a gun.

Nazir's family and cabdriver friends, who attended every hearing in the case, were stunned by the sentence, which they considered too lenient. They attended Friday as a final farewell to Nazir.

Gargiulo's lawyer, Barry Helfand, asked Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Bruce D. White to suspend five years of the jury's sentence and impose a 10-year term. Helfand also proposed that the judge order Gargiulo to pay "reparations" to the Nazir family, in the amount of $250 a month, or 20 percent of his gross salary, once he is released from prison.

Gargiulo stood and apologized to the Nazirs, and particularly to Nazir's son Zain Nazir, 13, whose emotional testimony at trial had courtroom spectators in tears.

"No one could fill the hole in his life that I created by taking away his father," Gargiulo said. "That is entirely my fault. . . . I'm truly sorry."

Judge White could have imposed or reduced the jury's sentence, but he could not increase it under Virginia law. He imposed it and declined to order reparations.

"You say you want to make things right," White told Gargiulo. "I don't think there's anything you can do to make things right in taking the life of this gentleman. Paying reparations doesn't make things right."

There is no parole for prisoners in Virginia, but they may be released for good behavior after serving 85 percent of their sentence. Gargiulo has been in the Fairfax jail since his arrest in November 2008. With good behavior, he will be eligible for release in about 2021.

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