(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Arlington Circuit Court Judge Daniel S. Fiore II sentenced Mack Wood, Jr. on Tuesday to life in prison. The 49-year-old Wood, Jr. pled guilty for the murder of his 87-year-old father.
Wood, Jr. was one of three people arrested last year in the murder-for-hire case. Mack L. Wood was found dead in his Arlington home in October 2012 from what first appeared to be an accident. However, an investigation by the Arlington County Police Department and the Henrico County Police Department uncovered evidence leading to the arrests of Wood, Jr., as well as Jean Caleb Pierre and Sapien Edmonds. All three men lived in Henrico, VA.
Prosecution documents state Wood, Jr. agreed to pay Pierre and Edmonds $25,000 each to kill his terminally ill father. The three began conspiring in April 2012, according to prosecutors, and made a failed attempt to kill Wood in July 2012. They kept in contact and came up with a new plan, which they successfully carried out in October 2012 when prosecutors say Edmonds beat and strangled Wood. Edmonds reportedly then positioned the body to appear as if the victim died from a fall down the stairs.
“It was horribly tragic for the Wood family. Mr. Wood was 87 years old and his wife had died a number of years earlier. They had adopted both of their children. He gave Mack Wood, Jr. his name, and they raised and provided a very good home for them,” assistant commonwealth’s attorney Andrew Parker told ARLnow.com. “Mr. Wood lived by himself and had been diagnosed months earlier with terminal cancer and was very ill. But because of these three men, he died at the hands of a stranger in his own home, by himself.”
Judge Fiore sentenced Wood, Jr. to life in prison for capital murder and an extra 20 years for the charge of conspiracy to commit murder. He is not eligible for parole under Virginia law.
Pierre and Edmonds both are waiting for their sentencing. As part of a plea deal, they agreed to provide information to authorities and therefore will be sentenced for first degree murder instead of capital murder. That means they will receive prison time, but not a death sentence.
Wood, Jr. has claimed his father abused him, but prosecutors have not been able to find any evidence to corroborate the claims. Evidence indicates Wood, Jr.’s motive was to inherit his father’s money. Wood, Jr. told Pierre he forged his father’s name on a contract to sell timber on land his father owned, and that he had received money from the sale. Wood, Jr. said he was afraid his father would reduce or eliminate his inheritance when he found out about the forged contract.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Wood, Jr. gave a lengthy statement. Part of his statement involved apologizing to his sister, Laura Kopack. She read her own statement, in which she explained what a blow this was to her and the family.
Voting Starts in Congressional Primary — Polls opened at 6:00 this morning in the seven-way race for the Democratic nod to replace Rep. Jim Moran. The polls will close at tonight 7:00. The candidates seeking the nomination are Don Beyer, Bill Euille, Lavern Chatman, Adam Ebbin, Patrick Hope, Derek Hyra and Mark Levine. [Washington Post]
Few Surprises in Howze Speech — County Board candidate Alan Howze addressed the local Democratic faithful at the Arlington Jefferson-Jackson dinner on Saturday. Howze talked about school overcrowding and global warming in the speech, which was described as “low-key,” and said little that would suggest a significant change in strategy since his special election loss to independent candidate John Vihstadt. [InsideNova]
County Employee Sentenced for Taking Bribes — Francisco Hernandez, who worked in Arlington County’s Dept. of Motor Vehicles Select office, has been sentenced to two years in jail after being convicted of taking bribes in connection with his job as a tax assessor supervisor. [FBI Washington Field Office]
Crystal Car Festival This Weekend — In honor of Father’s Day, Crystal City will hold its second annual Crystal Car Father’s Day Auto Festival from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 15. The free event features cars on display, live music, kids activities and a beer/wine garden. [Crystal City]
Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi
H-B Woodlawn Administrator Dies — H-B Woodlawn assistant principal Dr. Mary McBride died unexpectedly on Monday, May 26. McBride, who started her career at H-B Woodlawn as a teacher, was 70. [Legacy.com]
Torrez Sentenced to Death – Convicted rapist and murderer Jorge Torrez was formally sentenced to death Friday. The former Marine strangled a female sailor to death on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in 2009. He is also accused of killing two young girls in Illinois on Mother’s Day 2005. [Stars and Stripes]
Euille and Levine: No Regrets – At a debate Friday at a meeting of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, congressional candidates Bill Euille and Mark Levine couldn’t come up with an answer when asked what policy positions they’ve taken that they’ve later regretted. Patrick Hope and Adam Ebbin both regret supporting mandatory minimum sentencing, Don Beyer regrets opposing same-sex marriage in the 1990s, and Lavern Chatman said she regrets opposing medical marijuana. [InsideNova]
Testicle Festival Held Saturday — The 10th annual Testicle Festival was held in Virginia Square on Saturday. One attendee said of the Rocky Mountain Oyster tasting: “People who don’t come here and don’t try the balls aren’t living a full life.” [WTOP]
Stormwater Management Ordinance Approved — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a new stormwater management ordinance. The ordinance complies with strict EPA standards intended to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay. It’s expected to raise the county’s costs related to stormwater management. [Arlington County]
Gymnastic Boosters Speak Out About Rising Fee — Youth gymnasts and their parents spoke out at Saturday’s County Board meeting about rising fees for out-of-county gymnasts. Starting July 1, the cost for using county facilities is rising dramatically for members of the Arlington Aerials gymnastics team who do not live in the county. [InsideNova]
VHC Has High C-Section Rate — Virginia Hospital Center has one of the highest C-section rates for low-risk deliveries, according to Consumer Reports. [NBC Washington]
Fmr. Arlington Resident Charged in Drug Scheme — Two former Arlington residents have been sentenced after being convicted of running an illegal pharmaceutical business from their Crystal City apartment. Syed “Farhan” Huda, 39, was sentenced to three years in prison and $3.4 million in restitution. his wife, Deeba Mallick, 37, was sentenced to nine months in prison. [U.S. Department of Justice]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
Death Sentence Recommended for Torrez — A federal jury on Thursday recommended that former Marine Jorge Torrez be put to death for the 2009 murder of Navy Petty Officer Amanda Jean Snell on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. A judge is scheduled to formally sentence Torrez on May 30. [Washington Post]
Van Doren Picks Up Endorsements — Arlington School Board candidate Nancy Van Doren announced over the weekend that she has picked up the endorsements of the Arlington Education Association PAC, which represents Arlington teachers, and of current School Board member Emma Violand-Sanchez.
Republicans Pick Congressional Nominee — Marine Corps veteran and former congressional staffer Micah Edmund has captured the GOP nomination for congress in the race to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D). Edmund won 51 percent of the vote in a party convention held Saturday at Bishop O’Connell High School. [InsideNoVa]
Autistic Boy Punished at Randolph Elementary — The mother of a 7-year-old Randolph Elementary student is crying foul after a teacher moved his desk as punishment for bad behavior. The boy has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and his mom is trying to get him transferred to a different elementary school. [WUSA 9]
Wardian Wins Big Sur Marathon — Six days after his impressive Boston Marathon performance, elite distance runner and Arlington resident Michael Wardian has won the Big Sur International Marathon with a time of 2:27:45. Wardian’s time set a record for the 40-and-over age group in the Big Sur marathon and he also set a record for best combined time in the Boston and Big Sur marathons, with 4:51:17. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]
Problems for Potomac Yard Metro — The location of a future Potomac Yard Metro station is in doubt after the National Park Service raised concerns about the station’s visibility from the George Washington Parkway. Changes to the station’s location are expected to cost more than $50 million and delay the project by three years. [WAMU]
Route 50 Courthouse Interchange Update — Several long-term closures associated with the Route 50 Courthouse interchange project have been lifted. Among the routes that have reopened by VDOT are: 10th Street to eastbound Route 50, and Courthouse Road and N. Fairfax Drive to westbound Route 50.
A 22-year-old Alexandria man received a net seven year prison sentence today after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the Christmas Eve 2012 death of a pedestrian in Ballston.
Farhan Khan was sentenced today in Arlington Circuit Court for the death of Shabnam Motahhar-Tehrani, 32, who was killed in the accident at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Randolph Street. Khan was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with three years suspended. Additionally, his driver’s license will be revoked and he will be on probation for 10 years after his release, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jay Burkholder.
Witnesses said Khan was driving between 50-60 mph when he ran a red light and struck another vehicle. The collision caused his vehicle to spin out and hit Tehrani, who was standing on the sidewalk of Glebe Road. Khan had been cited eight times for previous moving violations, including for speeding the day before the fatal accident, Burkholder said.
“The defendant’s driving behavior was extraordinarily dangerous, particularly because of his excessive speed, the rainy road conditions, and the flagrant manner in which he ran the red light,” Burkholder told ARLnow.com. “Considering his extensive history of speeding, including an offense the day before this accident, and the fact that his gross negligence directly caused the death of Ms. Motahhar-Tehrani, we believed that a significant sentence was appropriate. We are grateful to the Court for its consideration of the evidence.”
The maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter is 10 years in prison. Video of the accident was captured by a camera on a Metrobus that was stopped at the intersection, and it was introduced as evidence against Khan, Burkholder said.
Photo courtesy Arlington County Police Department
Former Sheriff Sentenced for Shooting — Former Arlington County sheriff’s deputy Craig Patterson has been sentenced to six years in prison for a fatal shooting in Alexandria. Patterson shot and killed 22-year-old Julian Dawkins, a driver for the Shirlington-based PBS NewsHour, during a late-night confrontation in May 2013. Patterson was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in December. [Washington Post]
Metro Track Work This Weekend — Track work on the Blue and Orange lines this weekend will result in trains running every 16 minutes, instead of the normal daytime service of a train every 12 minutes. [WMATA]
Yorktown Defensive End Signs with Citadel — Star Yorktown High School defensive end Logan Robinson will be playing football for The Citadel this fall. Robinson signed a national letter of intent for the military school on Wednesday. [Sun Gazette]
Pacers to Host ‘Cupid 5K Run’ — The Pentagon Row Pacers store (1101 S. Joyce Street) will host a Valentine’s Day-themed “fun run” next week. The run will start at the store at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, and will end at Crystal City Sports Pub (529 23rd Street S.), which will offer discounts to runners wearing white clothing or cupid wings. [Facebook]
Art Show at House of Steep — House of Steep (3800 Lee Highway) is hosting a collection of watercolors by Howard C. Smith, co-owner of Clarendon-based Beth Singer Design, through March 31. The company designed the current ARLnow logo. [Beth Singer Design]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The leader of a smash-and-grab robbery crew that committed more than 20 robberies around the D.C. area, including one at the Tourneau store in the Pentagon City mall, has received a lengthy jail sentence.
District resident Walter Douglas, 34, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and, along with his co-defendants, ordered to pay $1.25 million in restitution. From the U.S. Attorney’s office:
Walter Douglas, 34, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 240 months in prison for his role in a series of smash-and-grab robberies. Douglas and his co-defendants were also ordered to pay $1,251,978.75 in restitution to the victims of these robberies.
Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police; M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County Chief of Police; and J. Thomas Manger, Montgomery County Chief of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
Douglas pleaded guilty on August 8, 2013. According to court documents, Douglas was a leader of a smash-and-grab robbery crew that committed over twenty robberies in the Washington, D.C. area and elsewhere. The crew entered various high-end retail establishments as a group, and through force and intimidation, stole merchandise from the stores. Douglas and his crew stole over $1,000,000 in merchandise during the robbery spree from retailers such as Tourneau, Cartier, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Fairfax County, Arlington County, and Montgomery County Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Fahey and Special Assistant United States Attorney Edward Reilly prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
Four men who robbed a Navy Federal credit union in Ballston last December have been sentenced to 60 years in prison.
The men, ages 21 to 24, were convicted in June of three armed robberies in Northern Virginia during the 2012 holiday season. The third robbery, of the Navy Federal, the last of their crime spree.
They robbed the credit union (875 N. Randolph Street) on Saturday, Dec. 22 in a heavily-armed heist reminiscent of a Hollywood movie. No one was hurt and, because police were able to track the money, the men were arrested within an hour of the robbery.
The men were convicted and sentenced in federal court. From the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
Keith Willie Reed, 24, of Washington, D.C.; Tobias Richard Dyer, 21, of Upper Marlboro, Md.; Anthony Cannon, 24, of Washington, D.C.; and Stanley Winston, 23, of Washington, D.C., were each sentenced today to 60 years in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, for conspiracy, robbery affecting interstate commerce, armed robbery of a credit union, use of a firearm during crimes of violence, and being felons in possession of firearms. They were also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $76,915.15.
Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Claude M. Hilton
Reed, Dyer, Winston, and Cannon were found guilty after a jury trial on June 21, 2013. According to court records and evidence adduced at trial, the defendants committed three armed robberies in Northern Virginia during the December 2012 holiday season. Specifically, on December 7, they robbed VVM, Inc., located in Fairfax County, Virginia. Two days later, they robbed the Shoppers Food Warehouse on Jefferson Davis Highway in Alexandria, Virginia. Then, on December 22, they robbed the Navy Federal Credit Union on Randolph Street in Arlington, Virginia. The total loss amount from these three armed robberies was over $75,000. In each robbery, three of the defendants entered masked while the fourth waited in a stolen getaway car. All four were arrested within an hour of the Navy Federal Credit Union robbery when law enforcement was able to track the money.
This case was jointly investigated by FBI’s Washington Field Office and Baltimore Field Office, and the Metropolitan, Fairfax County, Arlington County, and Alexandria Police Departments. Assistant United States Attorneys Patricia T. Giles and Rebeca H. Bellows are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Flickr photo by Joe Gratz
Treasurer Makes Deal for iPark Refills — Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary has struck deals to allow the county to refill iPark devices, while adding more devices to the cache that can be used to replace non-functioning units. The county paid $10,000 to the bankrupt manufacturer of the devices for the codes necessary to add value without additional authorization or payment to the company. The move comes about a month and a half after the company’s bankruptcy suddenly prevented the county from refilling the devices. [Sun Gazette]
Man Gets 10 Year Sentence for Custis Trail Robbery — A 23-year-old D.C. resident has received a 10 year sentence for a robbery on the Custis Trail that left a jogger with a head injury and lingering cognitive effects. The attacker and his 17-year-old brother, who’s expected to receive a 1.5 to 3 year sentence, were both arrested as they fled toward the Ballston Metro Station. The victim, a 55-year-old personal trainer, says he still suffers from headaches, nightmares and memory loss. [Washington Post]
Remembering Allison’s Tea House — From the 1920s to the 1950s, Allison’s Tea House, at 1301 S. Arlington Ridge Road, was “a coveted neighborhood restaurant… that had been visited by dignitaries including Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt.” The restaurant’s iconic stone well house was preserved after the restaurant and its grounds were redeveloped into an apartment building in the 1960s. It still stands, and is used as storage for the apartment’s swimming pool. [Preservation Arlington]
ACPD Participating in Drug Take-Back Day — The Arlington County Police Department is participating in National Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday. From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at fire stations No. 1, 8 and 9, officers will collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. “The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked,” police say in a press release. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Michael Cullen, of no fixed address, received a 12-year jail sentence for the thefts. He pleaded guilty to eight counts of grand larceny with the intent to sell, and one count of possession of burglarious tools. Cullen has the ability to suspend four years of his sentence if full restitution is paid to his victims.
“In Arlington, we have the ability to prosecute all types of cases,” said Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos. “Protecting the property of residents is of the utmost importance and thieves such as Michael Cullen will be prosecuted to the fullest.”
Because recent data compiled by the police department indicated bike thefts are at an all-time high, the Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit spearheaded a regional police cooperation to reduce the amount of bicycle thefts and to identify suspects. An increase in patrols and surveillance, along with hours of police detective work, led to a number of arrests.
Police say the following individuals have been arrested, in addition to Michael Cullen, as part of the regional bike theft crackdown:
- “Aldrick Johnson was observed on video attempting to break into an apartment building. Security called police and Mr. Johnson was apprehended. He pled guilty to possession of burglarious tools and burglary and received a sentence of four years with three years suspended.”
- “Ositafimma Emegbuism was Aldrick Johnson’s co-defendant. Mr. Emegbuism pled guilty to unlawful entry and received 6 months.”
- “John Sears was apprehended after a citizen observed him tampering with a bicycle inside of a parking garage. Police located Sears with a stolen bicycle in his possession not far from the incident. The bicycle had a cut cable lock and the rear tire was partially removed. Warrants for possession of burglarious tools, possession of drug paraphernalia, providing false ID to law enforcement, attempted grand larceny, destruction of property, and credit card theft were obtained.”
- “Irvin Coleman was identified as a suspect in multiple bike larcenies in Arlington, Fairfax, and Alexandria after pawning multiple bikes on separate occasions. Warrants were obtained for Coleman for his involvement in the theft/pawning of bicycles from Ballston Mall. Coleman avoided apprehension for some time but was eventually arrested. Coleman is currently held in Fairfax on no bond. His preliminary hearing for his Arlington charge, grand larceny with intent to sell, is currently set for October 24, 2013.”
- “Howard Montgomery was stopped after an officer observed him riding one bike while rolling a second beside him. He admitted that the bikes did not belong to him. After further investigation, it was determined that these bikes were stolen from a secured bike cage in an apartment building. Montgomery is to be indicted on charges of possession of burglarious tools, grand larceny and grand larceny with intent to sell.”
- “Five juveniles involved with bike thefts from Thomas Jefferson Middle School have been identified and adjudicated. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered for all suspects. Four of the defendants were sentenced. One juvenile is still pending.”
In some of the cases, the bicycles were recovered and returned to their rightful owners. Police continue to ask people to register their bikes for this very reason.
“We encourage people to register their bikes because if there is a bike recovered, then it’s not a long process to figure out who it belongs to,” said police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Cyclists can register bikes online, and will receive a registration decal to place on the bike. Owners should also take a photo of their bicycle and record the serial number and any distinguishing features it may have.
Anyone who has had a bicycle stolen or who notices suspicious behavior around bike racks should call the Arlington County Police Department non-emergency number at 703-558-2222.
Fisette Weds Long-Time Partner — Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette married long-time partner Bob Rosen last week. After 30 years together, the couple tied the knot in a low-key ceremony at All Souls Unitarian Church in the District. Fisette and Rosen’s union will not be recognized in Virginia, but Fisette said he thinks that same-sex marriage will be legalized in the Commonwealth within five years. [Sun Gazette]
Smash-and-Grab Lookout Sentenced — The man who served as a lookout in a series of smash-and-grab robberies in the D.C. area, including this robbery at the Tourneau store in Pentagon City, has been sentenced. Floyd Davis, 43, was sentenced to 7 years in prison for his role in the crimes. [Washington Post]
Reevesland Group Refines Proposal — A group that wants to convert the historic Reeves farmhouse into an agricultural learning center for school children has submitted a proposal to Arlington County. The group says its volunteers will lower the cost of necessary renovations to the building by 30 percent. It has offered to operate the center and make it available to Arlington Public Schools. In exchange, the group wants the county to pay for renovations (about $700,000), ongoing maintenance costs and utilities. [Sun Gazette]
Library Seeks Info on Mystery Football Photo — Arlington Public Library’s Center for Local History is seeking more information about a photograph found at a local home. The photo shows a group of men wearing early 20th century football equipment, posing in front of a school. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Circuit Court Judge Louise M. DiMatteo imposed the jury’s sentencing for 54-year-old Rodolfo Hernandez-Suazo — which included 50 years for rape, 25 years for abduction with intent to defile and 5 years for incest — but ordered that the sentences run concurrently.
Hernandez-Suazo lured his then 22-year-old daughter to a south Arlington hotel room last year, claiming he was going to complete some maintenance work there. Once both were at the hotel, Hernandez-Suazo forced sex on his daughter.
Prosecutors say Hernandez-Suazo then told the daughter to take a shower, but she did not end up doing so. As a result, after she reported the crime to police several hours later, investigators from the Arlington County Police Department Special Victims Unit were able to retrieve DNA evidence from her.
Hernandez-Suazo had been estranged from his daughter since leaving El Salvador about 20 years ago. They were reunited in 2009, when the daughter came to the United States to live with her mother, but she broke off contact after Hernandez-Suazo touched her inappropriately. He then re-initiated contact last year, leading to the incident in the hotel room.
“The victim held the understandable but misguided belief that she and the defendant could at last have a normal father-daughter relationship. Unfortunately he turned out to be a predator, not a parent,” said Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Lisa Tingle. “Her courage in coming forward should give others similar strength knowing that our community treats these offenses with the utmost seriousness.”
(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) The jury that convicted 25-year-old Javon Martin of robbery and first degree felony murder yesterday for the stabbing of Arlington resident Carl Diener recommends that Martin receive a 27 year sentence.
The jury had the option of recommending sentences up to life in prison for Martin. He is expected to be formally sentenced before Judge Louise DiMatteo in May.
Martin’s cousin and co-defendant, Roger Clark III, pleaded guilty to Diener’s murder last year and will be sentenced at some point in the future. The maximum sentence Clark could receive is 25 years in prison; he was offered a reduced sentence as part of a plea deal for testifying against Martin.
Arlington County sent out the following press release about Martin’s conviction and recommended sentence:
ARLINGTON, Va. – An Arlington County jury yesterday found Javon Martin guilty of murder and robbery for the December 29, 2009 homicide of Carl Diener. Following the guilty finding, the members of the jury recommended a 27 year sentence for Martin, 25, formerly of Washington, D.C. Formal sentencing by Judge Louise DiMatteo is scheduled for a later date.
Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement after the conclusion of the trial.
Diener, 57, a retired federal government employee and a well known and loved member of the Lyon Park community, was found by a passerby stabbed to death lying on the street in the 3200 block of N. 13th Street. As was his practice, he awoke early in the morning to open a local health and fitness club for members. As Mr. Diener was walking from his longtime home to the health and fitness club, he was brutally attacked and left to die.
“From that cold December morning when Mr. Diener’s body was found, the Arlington County Police Department never wavered in their determination to solve this murder, investing hundreds of hours in this investigation,” commented Chief Scott. As a result, murder charges were brought against Roger K. Clark III, 22, of Severn, Maryland, and Javon Martin in June of 2011. Clark pleaded guilty and is currently awaiting sentencing.
Following the trial, Commonwealth’s Attorney Stamos said, “We are extremely grateful to the jury — all of whom worked so hard to reach the right conclusion. Our prayers go out to Carl Diener’s family and hope they will find some comfort in knowing those responsible for his death were held accountable by this community.”
Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division added, “The Homicide Robbery Unit’s efforts and a strong partnership with the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office have resulted in two dangerous individuals being removed from the streets. Unfortunately none of our efforts could ever bring Mr. Diener back and the Arlington community is much poorer for the loss of this great friend to everyone.”
Master Police Officer Rosa Ortiz was the lead detective and the case was prosecuted by Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Molly Newton and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney John Lynch.
John Reynolds was 24 at the time of his arrest in March 2011. He was accused of hitting a 22-year-old woman with his car while driving drunk on Fairfax Drive, near the Ballston Metro station, on December 30, 2010. Reynolds sped away from the scene of the near-fatal accident, but detectives were able to use debris from his car to track him down and arrest him.
Reynolds — who studied psychology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University — was charged with hit and run and DUI maiming. Following a three-day trial that started on Monday, an Arlington County jury found Reynolds guilty on both charges yesterday (Thursday) afternoon. Today the jury sentenced Reynolds to 4 years and 3 months in prison, plus a $2,500 fine.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jay Burkholder, who prosecuted the case with fellow Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Clarke, said Reynolds’ “level of intoxication” played a role in the jury’s decision-making. Reynolds did not testify at the sentencing hearing, Burkholder said.
The victim of the accident suffered what Burkholder described as “very serious” injuries to her hip and legs. She also suffered nerve damage.
“Due to some fantastic doctors at Inova Fairfax Hospital she survived and is walking today,” Burkholder said. “She is doing much better, but will always face some physical challenges from this crime.”
Reynolds is being held at the Arlington County jail pending a formal sentencing hearing in September, when a judge will have the option of suspending part of his sentence.