A teenager who admitted that she played a role in the beating death of a 25-year-old woman after a traffic altercation was sentenced yesterday in Prince William County Circuit Court to 2 1/2 years in prison.
Teresa Hattie Dixon, 18, of the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, was convicted in October of voluntary manslaughter, and she expressed remorse for her part in the attack in June on Natalie Giles Davis, of Woodbridge. Davis was beaten during a dispute with a group of teenage girls over a car blocking her cul-de-sac.
State guidelines called for a sentence of no jail time to six months in prison, because Dixon had no criminal record of violence. But Circuit Court Judge Herman A. Whisenant Jr. agreed with the jurors' recommendation of 2 1/2 years, saying they "heard the case and imposed what they thought."
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney James A. Willett, who argued for imposing the jury's recommended sentence, embraced the judge's decision as "fair and right" and just punishment for the "utter uselessness and senseless act."
"There was no purpose for her [Dixon] to go after her [Davis] like that," he told the judge. "She didn't know her. . . . She did it for the sole purpose of getting a lick in."
Dixon testified during her trial that she kicked Davis once in the head in retaliation for a blow to the face earlier in the fight. Dixon and several other witnesses testified that Kurebia Maria Hampton, 17, was the main aggressor.
Dixon's family declined to comment, but her attorney, Mark Yeager, said he may appeal. "I think the sentence is uninformed," he said. "I am not a proponent of jury sentencing. . . . I disagree with it and think the judge should have suspended some of it."
Under Virginia law, 85 percent of a sentence must be served before the defendant is eligible for parole. Yeager said that Dixon already has served seven months because she was imprisoned the night she was arrested and that she must serve an additional year and a half.
Julian Grante, a Davis family spokesman, said the Davises are satisfied with the sentence. "No amount of time served will ever bring Natalie back," he said. "But they feel justice was served just with the fact that she was convicted. They're happy with that."
According to testimony, Hampton slammed Davis's head into the pavement and then stomped on her head. Davis, who had been riding to church with several relatives, died a few days later from severe brain injuries.
Hampton was convicted last month in Prince William County of second-degree murder and is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 17. She faces up to 40 years in prison.