The girls, who allegedly were armed with a stun device, are accused of carjacking a Honda Accord near Nationals Park. Police said the driver, Mohammad Anwar, 66, a Pakistani immigrant, was “hanging outside the car” through the open driver’s door during a struggle when the vehicle crashed and overturned, fatally injuring him.
Because the girls were charged as juveniles, they have not been publicly identified by authorities and their court hearings have been closed to the public. Along with several other media outlets, The Washington Post has been allowed to watch the girls’ court hearings via video after agreeing not to report identifying information about them.
After a hearing set for Tuesday did not take place as scheduled, the court spokeswoman, Claire Huber, said the 15-year-old girl had pleaded guilty to felony murder on May 5.
In return, the D.C. attorney general’s office dropped all other charges against her, including armed carjacking, robbery and aggravated reckless driving, Huber said.
It is unclear whether the May 5 plea was entered during a court hearing or what discussions about the case took place with no journalists present.
Lawyers are barred by court rules from commenting publicly on juvenile matters. A relative of Anwar said his family would not comment on the court proceedings until the 13-year-old girl’s case has been resolved.
During a March hearing, a prosecutor said the government was preparing plea offers for both young defendants. The 13-year-old girl has a hearing set for May 19, and it was not immediately clear whether she declined an initial plea offer.
Huber said the 15-year-old girl’s sentencing is scheduled for June 4. She can be confined in a juvenile facility only until she turns 21, after which she must be released. Juvenile authorities could free her much sooner if they deem her to be rehabilitated.
Police said that the girls got into Anwar’s Honda at the Navy Yard Metro station about 4:30 p.m. and that Anwar then drove a short distance to the streets close to Nationals Park before a struggle between him and the attackers turned deadly.
Based on witness statements and video recordings, police said Anwar wound up standing outside his car, with the 15-year-old in the driver’s seat and the other girl in the front passenger seat. As he was trying to force his way back into the Honda, the vehicle lurched forward and accelerated down the block before crashing, police said.
Anwar, who lived in Springfield, Va., suffered broken bones and a head injury. His family said he immigrated to the United States in 2014 “to build a better life for himself.”
Because of her age, there is no way under D.C. law for authorities to prosecute the 13-year-old girl as an adult, even for murder.
As for the 15-year-old girl, it is possible for a youth that age to be transferred to adult court in a murder case, but the burden is a heavy one for prosecutors. They would have to convince a judge that if the case were kept in juvenile court, there would be no reasonable prospect for the youth to be rehabilitated.