Anwar’s relatives testified at a sentencing hearing for the 15-year-old girl Friday in D.C. juvenile court that the family was now rudderless. The reunion they had pined for had been cut short. The dream that had buoyed them in their new homeland was now dashed.
“You did not kill one person that day,” Anwar’s daughter, Qandeel, told the older teen during a virtual hearing. “You killed a whole family.”
D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz said it was “almost incomprehensible” a girl so young could commit such a crime, before sentencing her to the care of a D.C. youth agency until she is deemed rehabilitated or turns 21 — the maximum sentence allowed under city law.
The 15-year-old pleaded guilty to felony murder last month in exchange for several other charges being dismissed, as part of a deal with the D.C. attorney general’s office. The 13-year-old co-respondent pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Thursday and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 6.
The Washington Post generally does not name juveniles accused of crimes, and Leibovitz has allowed the media to view the proceedings in both cases as long as they don’t provide identifying information about the teens.
The older teen apologized to Anwar’s family in brief remarks at the hearing.
“No matter how much stuff I’ve been through, I would never intentionally murder someone,” she said.
The carjacking unfolded on March 23 near the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station near Nationals Park. Prosecutor Bonnie Lindemann said in court that the two teens jumped in the front seats of Anwar’s car while he was outside of it, and he tried to wrest back control of the vehicle.
Lindemann said at one point the 15-year-old tried to use a stun gun on Anwar, although it was unclear if she succeeded. The car accelerated, with Anwar “hanging outside the car” through the open driver’s door, police have said.
Lindemann said Anwar was struck by the car’s door when it hit a tree box and was ejected from the Honda when it careened around a corner and flipped on its side. Anwar suffered extensive injuries.
Anwar, who lived in Springfield, Va., was close to his wife, daughter, niece and other relatives. Family members described him as dedicated to his family, humble and religious. He had his favorite rosary with him on the day he was killed and died shortly before his favorite time of the year, Ramadan, they said.
Maham Akbar, a niece of Anwar, testified that the family was burying him at a cemetery when they discovered to their horror that someone had posted a cellphone video of the crash on the Internet.
Akbar said the video went viral in the United States and Pakistan, depriving Anwar of “dignity in his own death.” Family members are traumatized each time they stumble across it, so much so that some of them even paid scammers who falsely claimed they could get it removed from the Web, Akbar said.
“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,” Akbar testified. “We are haunted by the image of his broken, crumpled body.”