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by Chris Teale September 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm 0

An Alexandria man will spend 32 years in prison for raping a woman on the Four Mile Run Trail in 2012.

Elmer Umberto Lopez-Velasquez, 39, raped a 23-year-old woman near mile marker 44 in Arlington County on July 3, 2012, according to Arlington County Police.

He was sentenced to 50 years with 18 suspended for the charge of rape and five years for the charge of strangulation. The two sentences will run concurrently.

He brandished a knife and dragged the victim off the trail and sexually assaulted her. After the assault, the suspect fled the scene and the victim took herself to Virginia Hospital Center and the police were called.

Investigators discovered his connection to the sexual assault after an attack at a Columbia Pike motel in 2016.

On January 12, 2016, a woman was involved in escort-related activity at a motel when two men she did not know entered the motel room and raped her, stole her personal items and fled.  The men were caught by plain-clothes police officers nearby, and DNA evidence linked Lopez-Velasquez with the unsolved 2012 rape.

Lopez-Velasquez previously pled guilty in the January 2016 case and received a 10-year sentence.

More from an Arlington County Police Department press release:

Elmer Umberto Lopez-Velasquez, 39, of Alexandria, VA was sentenced on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, in the Arlington County Circuit Court to thirty-two years in prison for his role in a rape on a shared-use trail in 2012. Judge Daniel Fiore sentenced the defendant to fifty years with eighteen suspended for the charge of Rape and five years for the charge of Strangulation. The two sentences will run concurrently.

Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Jay Farr, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement following the court appearance.

On January 12, 2016, a female victim was involved in escort-related activity at a motel in the 3000 block of Columbia Pike when two suspects unknown to the victim knocked on the door. Upon entering the motel room, the suspects sexually assaulted the victim while using the threat of a weapon to hold her against her will. The suspects stole the victim’s personal belongings before fleeing the room. The suspects were apprehended by police working a plain clothes detail in the area. DNA evidence recovered from this assault was submitted to the state lab for analysis and the results linked this case with an unsolved 2012 rape.

On July 3, 2012, a 23-year-old female victim was jogging on the Four Mile Run Trail near mile marker 44 when she was confronted by an unknown Hispanic male that she had passed minutes earlier. The suspect brandished a knife and drug the victim off the trail into taller vegetation where he sexually assaulted her. After the assault, the suspect fled the scene in an unknown direction and the victim transported herself to Virginia Hospital Center where police were called.

Elmer Umberto Lopez-Velasquez previously pled guilty in the January 2016 case and received a ten-year prison sentence.

Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theophani K. Stamos said, “This case brought to justice a serial sexual predator…and it’s a powerful demonstration of how intrepid victims, dogged police efforts, and dedicated prosecutors make the difference and help secure our community”.

Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “The residents of Arlington County are significantly safer now that a predator has been removed from our streets. These horrible offenses and attacks on our community will be relentlessly pursued by our detectives. The message to criminals and the families of the victims is clear – Arlington County will not waver in our commitment to investigate and prosecute violent crimes – no matter how much time has passed.”

This case was investigated by Special Victims Unit Detective G. Sloan and prosecuted by Assistant Commonwealth Attorneys’ Lindsay Brooker and Stephanie Siegel.

by Chris Teale September 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

An Arlington man received a 32-year prison sentence for the fatal stabbing of his father last year on 3rd Street S.

Maxwell Adams, 18, of Arlington, was sentenced yesterday (Wednesday) for killing his father, Dennis “Andy” Adams, 46.

He was sentenced to 50 years in prison with 23 suspended for a charge of first degree murder and five years for a charge of stabbing in the commission of a felony. The two sentences will run consecutively.

Adams stabbed his father on April 1, 2016 around 8 p.m. Officers responded to the 100 block of S. Glebe Road, and found both men suffering from stab wounds.

Dennis Adams later died from his injuries in the hospital, while Maxwell Adams suffered minor injuries.

Police said that initially, Adams claimed he and his father were victims of a home invasion. But investigators found inconsistencies in his statements and other evidence, leading them to believe he fabricated his story. They found that the stabbing was the result of a “domestic incident” inside a home on the 3600 block of 3rd Street S.

More from an Arlington County Police Department press release:

Maxwell Adams, 18, of Arlington, VA was sentenced on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, in the Arlington County Circuit Court to thirty-two years in prison for his role in the homicide of his father, 46-year-old Dennis “Andy” Adams. Judge Louise M. DiMatteo sentenced the defendant to fifty years with twenty-three suspended for the charge of First Degree Murder and five years for the charge of Stabbing in the Commission of a Felony. The two sentences will run consecutively.

Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Jay Farr, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement following the court appearance.

On April 1, 2016, shortly after 8:00 p.m., Arlington County Police officers were dispatched to the 100 block of S. Glebe Road for an assault with injuries. Arriving officers located two individuals suffering from stab wounds. Dennis “Andy” Adams of Arlington, VA was transported to George Washington University Hospital Trauma Center where he was pronounced deceased. The defendant suffered minor injuries.

Initially, the defendant claimed he and his father were victims of an alleged home invasion. Through the course of the investigation, detectives uncovered numerous inconsistencies in the defendant’s account of these events and other evidence that lead them to believe his account was fabricated. Detectives ultimately determined that the stabbing resulted from a domestic incident that took place inside a residence in the 3600 block of 3rd Street S. and subsequently charged Maxwell Adams.

Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theophani K. Stamos said, “In her ruling, Judge DiMatteo gave the family of Andy Adams a measure of closure they have ached for since this awful incident. The defendant will now have the next 32 years of his life to contemplate from behind bars how his actions destroyed a family. There is no question that justice was done”.

Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “Mr. Adams tragically lost his life in a senseless act of domestic violence by someone he spent his life caring for. Today’s sentence will not return Mr. Adams to his family, but we hope it provides some solace to know that the individual responsible will be held accountable for his actions”.

This case was investigated by Homicide/Robbery Unit Detective S. Bertollini and prosecuted by Commonwealth Attorney Theophani Stamos, and Assistant Commonwealth Attorneys Cari Steele and Joshua Katcher.

by Chris Teale March 20, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Ludvin Estrada sentencedA man who fled to Guatemala to escape murder charges was sentenced to 45 years in prison Friday for a 1999 homicide in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood.

Ludvin Estrada, 41, was convicted of killing 27-year-old Eva Veliz on May 11, 1999. Police found Veliz dead inside the trunk of a car parked on the 1300 block of N. Pierce Street.

The pair were seen leaving together, after a night out, at approximately 2:45 a.m. on the day of the murder. At some point, the pair started arguing and Estrada strangled Veliz to death, prosecutors say.

Estrada then immediately fled to Guatemala.

Police issued a warrant for Estrada’s arrest, but were unable to find him in Guatemala. The Arlington County Police Department’s cold case unit took over the case in 2012.

A combination of case files, laboratory results and evidence from the crime scene led law enforcement authorities to Estrada in September 2016. He was then extradited to the United States.

More from ACPD:

A man who fled to Guatemala following the 1999 murder of Eva Veliz in the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood of Arlington County was sentenced in the Arlington County Circuit Court on Friday, March 17, 2017. Judge Daniel Fiore imposed the maximum judgement permitted by the plea agreement and sentenced Ludvin Estrada, 41, to forty-five years in prison.

On May 11, 1999, at approximately 4:33 p.m., Arlington County Police responded to the report of a 27-year-old female victim located deceased inside the trunk of a vehicle parked in the 1300 block of N. Pierce Street. The investigation revealed that on the evening prior the victim, Eva Veliz, and the subject, Ludvin Estrada, had been out dancing and were seen leaving together at approximately 2:45 a.m. on May 11, 1999. At some point during the evening, a verbal altercation ensued between the two and the subject strangled the victim causing her death. Estrada immediately fled to Guatemala.

A warrant was issued for Estrada in 1999 but efforts to locate him in Guatemala were unsuccessful. In 2012, the case was assigned to the Arlington County Police Department’s Cold Case Unit. Through a review of the case files, crime scene evidence and laboratory results detectives located additional information that verified Estrada’s involvement in the murder.

In September 2016, following a joint investigation by the Arlington County Police Department, the United States Department of State, the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs, the United States Marshals Service and Guatemalan Law Enforcement, Estrada was extradited to the United States to face charges in the 1999 murder of Eva Veliz.

“Today’s sentence is the culmination of years of dogged work and perseverance by Arlington’s law enforcement community.  A special thank you goes to Detective Rosa Ortiz who never, ever forgot about our victim.  Together with two dedicated prosecutors, Assistant Commonwealth Attorneys’ Stephanie Siegel and Lindsay Brooker, this defendant was finally brought to justice.” said Theo Stamos, Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “More than a decade ago, Eva Veliz was taken from her loving family in a senseless act of domestic violence. While this case was never a whodunit, Ludvin Estrada’s decision to flee the country made this investigation much more complex. This case demonstrates our commitment to pursue cases, no matter how much time has passed. The message to criminals and the families of the victims is clear — Arlington County will not waver in our commitment to investigate and prosecute cold case homicides.”

by Chris Teale March 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm 0

Columbia Pike shooting suspect Martin Walker (photo via ACPD)A Largo, Md. man was sentenced to 17 years in prison Friday for his role in a shooting on Columbia Pike last year.

Martin Walker, 25, was charged with attempted murder, malicious wounding, use of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Arlington County police responded to the 3600 block of Columbia Pike on April 20, 2016, after reports of a dispute involving a used car dealer. Upon arriving, officers found a man suffering from a gunshot wound to his leg.

The victim was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Walker was one of three arrested in the case, including the victim, who was determined to be “an aggressor in the dispute” and was later sentenced to a year in jail.

More from ACPD:

Martin Walker, 25, of Largo, MD was sentenced on Friday, March 3, 2017 in the Arlington County Circuit Court to seventeen years in prison for his role in a shooting on Columbia Pike in 2016. Judge Fiore imposed a sentence of seventeen years for the charges of Attempted Murder, Malicious Wounding, Use of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

On April 20, 2016 at approximately 10:30 p.m., Arlington County Police responded to a report of a dispute in the 3600 block of Columbia Pike. Arriving officers located one male victim suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg. He was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The initial investigation revealed there was a dispute between several subjects and a business owner over the sale of a vehicle. One subject brandished a firearm and shot multiple rounds towards the victim who was sitting in his vehicle. Following the shooting, the subjects fled the area. Officers observed the subject’s vehicle and initiated a short pursuit on Northbound I-395. The pursuit was terminated in Washington D.C. United States Park Police assisted the investigation with the use of their helicopter.

Detectives from the Department’s Homicide/Robbery and Tactical Units developed suspect descriptions. Members of the SWAT Team took Martin Walker and Joseph Thompson into custody from a residence in the 2400 block of S. Lowell Street. Joseph Thompson, 27, of Manassas VA, previously entered an Alford plea to the charge of Attempted Malicious Wounding by Mob and was sentenced to serve one year in jail.

Through the course of the investigation, detectives determined that the initial male victim suffering from a gunshot wound had been an aggressor in the dispute. Gregory Porter Jr., 22, of Triangle VA, previously pled guilty to the charge of Attempted Malicious Wounding by Mob and was sentenced to serve one year in jail.

Detective S. Roeseler was the lead detective and the case was prosecuted by Commonwealth Attorney Josh Katcher.

by ARLnow.com February 9, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

David Black (photo courtesy ACPD)David Black, who was convicted in November of murdering his estranged wife in her home near Pentagon City, will serve two consecutive life sentences in prison.

The sentence, which was recommended by the jury, was confirmed by an Arlington Circuit Court judge Wednesday afternoon.

Black lived just blocks away from his wife, Bonnie Delgado Black, in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood. Prosecutors say he broke into her home on April 17, 2015 and stabbed her to death.

The murder scene was discovered after neighbors found Black’s two young children wandering around outside the home that morning.

More from an Arlington County Police Department press release:

David Black, 45, of Arlington, VA was sentenced on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in the Arlington County Circuit Court to two consecutive life terms in prison for the 2015 murder of Bonnie Black.

Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Jay Farr, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement following the court appearance.

On April 17, 2015, officers were dispatched to the 1100 block of 18th Street S. after two concerned citizens located the Black children alone outside their residence and called police for assistance. Arriving officers located Bonnie Black deceased from an apparent stabbing inside the residence. Detectives began an intensive investigation revealing that Bonnie Black was the victim of domestic violence.

David Black, the estranged husband of Bonnie Black, was taken into custody in October 2015 pursuant to an indictment issued by a special investigative grand jury. The indictment and subsequent bench warrant charged him with one count of first degree murder and one count of burglary while armed with the intent to commit a felony. On November 8, 2016, a jury returned a unanimous verdict finding David Black guilty on both counts.

Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theophani K. Stamos said, “The imposition of two life sentences for the murder of Bonnie Black speaks volumes about our community’s views when it comes to domestic violence.  We’re grateful to Judge Newman and the jury for their hard work, deep consideration and attention throughout a very difficult trial.”

Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “This horrific murder personalized the investigation for the entire Criminal Investigations Section, many of whom had children themselves. They worked relentlessly for the cause of justice. The complex investigation, prosecution and ultimate conviction were possible because of a strong partnership between the Homicide/Robbery Unit and the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. Unfortunately nothing can bring Bonnie Black back to her loving family colleagues and friends but it is our fervent hope that we have been able to provide them with some closure.”

by ARLnow.com January 20, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

US Capitol prior to inauguration ceremony (Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin)

Reminder: Inauguration Closures Today — Many Arlington County facilities are closed today, Inauguration Day, and parking meters are not being enforced. Traffic is light around Arlington but drivers should expect closures and delays approaching the District. [ARLnow]

Arlington EOC Open — Arlington’s Emergency Operations Center is open and fully functional today for the inauguration. [Twitter]

Two Local Neighborhoods Among D.C.’s Hottest — Arlington Heights, between Columbia Pike and Route 50, and Yorktown in north Arlington, are No. 2 and 3 respectively on real estate firm Redfin’s list of the hottest Washington, D.C. area neighborhoods for 2017. [Redfin]

Schlow May Open Arlington Restaurant — Restaurateur Michael Schlow, the man behind Tico and The Riggsby in D.C., is “close to a deal” to open a new restaurant in Arlington. [Washington Business Journal]

School Bus Accident — There was a minor collision between two school buses at Randolph Elementary yesterday afternoon. According to initial reports more than a dozen students were evaluated by medics, but ultimately no injuries reported. [Twitter]

Schmuhl Sentenced for Home Invasion — Former lawyer Alecia Schmuhl was sentenced to 45 years in prison for her role in the home invasion attack on her former boss and his wife. Leo Fisher, a shareholder in Arlington law firm Bean, Kinney & Korman, was held captive by Schmuhl’s husband, who shot, stabbed and tased the couple during a three hour torture session. [NBC Washington]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

by ARLnow.com December 21, 2016 at 4:05 pm 0

Macy's store at the Fashion Center at Pentagon City mallAn Arlington woman arrested earlier this year for a counterfeit handbag fraud has been sentenced to jail time.

Federal prosecutors say 41-year-old Praepitcha Smatsorabudh would buy luxury handbags online, then return high-quality knockoff handbags to the store while selling the real bag online, netting big profits in the process

She was sentenced today to 30 months in prison and more than $800,000 in forfeiture and restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

More from a press release:

Praepitcha Smatsorabudh, 41, of Arlington, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for running a multiyear scheme to defraud department stores across the country. Smatsorabudh was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $403,250.81 in forfeiture and the same amount in restitution to her victims.

Smatsorabudh pleaded guilty to wire fraud on August 3. According to court documents, Smatsorabudh bought brand name purses online and then returned in their place counterfeit purses, which were smuggled into the country from China. She then sold the authentic purses on Instagram for more than $2,000 each. In order to avoid detection, Smatsorabudh made fraudulent returns at over 60 department store locations in 12 states.  In total, her scheme defrauded department stores out of more than $400,000.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer prosecuted the case.

File photo

by ARLnow.com November 10, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

Trump cutout goes out with the recycling after Election Day (photo courtesy Ari P.)

David Black Convicted, Sentenced for Wife’s Murder — An Arlington County jury this week found Arlington Ridge resident David Black guilty of murdering his wife. Bonnie Delgado Black was found stabbed to death in her home, which was just blocks from her estranged husband’s house, on April 17, 2015. Yesterday the jury recommended that Black serve two life sentences. [NBC 4, WTOP]

County Board Ditches New Year’s Day Meeting — Eschewing a long-standing tradition of holding its first meeting of the year on New Year’s Day, the Arlington County Board yesterday voted unanimously to hold its 2017 organizational meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 3. “We still will start our year off with the community, but without forcing employees to give up their personal and family time on a holiday,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. [Arlington County]

Retail Space for WeWork in Crystal City — The County Board on Saturday voted to convert 440 square feet of the WeWork and WeLive building in Crystal City to ground floor retail space, at the request of WeWork. No word yet on what kind of a retailer may be moving in. [Arlington County]

More on Park Protests — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark has tackled the dual controversies of the baseball field fence in Bluemont Park (the Board acted on that yesterday, article coming soon) and the proposed Williamsburg Middle School athletic field lights. Clark concluded: “Popular sports for kids, peaceful green parks: competing Arlington virtues.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Evolent Health Stock Soars — As of 10 a.m. the share price for Ballston-based Evolent Health is up more than 12 percent today and nearly 70 percent for the year. The tech firm reported a narrower-than-expected loss and higher-than-expected revenue in the third quarter of 2016. [CNBC, Yahoo]

Board Approves Loan for Apartment Renovations — The Culpepper Garden affordable apartment complex for low-income seniors will receive needed renovations thanks to a $9.9 million loan from Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund. The County Board unanimously approved the loan yesterday. The renovations are expected to begin in the spring and will require tenants to temporarily move to other units on site while their units are renovated. [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy Ari P.

by ARLnow.com April 14, 2016 at 4:15 pm 0

ACPD arrest of sexual assault suspect Melvin Perez-Bonilla (mug shot vs. sketch)A 19-year-old man has been sentenced to spend seven years in prison before being deported, after pleading guilty to two sexual assault incidents in Arlington.

Melvin Perez-Bonilla was arrested in October and charged in connection to a string of sexual assaults in 2015.

Prosecutors say Perez-Bonilla attacked a 25-year-old woman while she was walking home alone in the Clarendon area early in the morning of July 25, 2015. On the evening Sept. 29, 2015, he attacked a 23-year-old woman who was walking home near Washington-Lee High School.

Perez-Bonilla was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with 13 years suspended. He will be placed on the sex offender registry and will be deported upon serving his sentence, according to a press release.

“The Special Victims Unit and Tactical Unit’s efforts and a strong partnership with the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office have resulted in a predator being removed from the streets.” said Deputy Chief Daniel Murray, who heads ACPD’s Criminal Investigations Division. “These horrible offenses and attacks on our community will be relentlessly pursued by our detectives.”

Another sexual assault suspect, Santos Efrain Vasquez-Lopez, is set to go before a grand jury on April 25, according to police.

The full press release from the Arlington County Police Department, after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com April 27, 2015 at 9:30 am 1,932 0

Fluffy white clouds above the Air Force Memorial (Flickr pool photo by ksrjghkegkdhgkk)

Candidates: APS Needs Better Community Engagement — Arlington Public Schools should be doing a better job of community engagement, both Democratic candidates for School Board said at a debate Friday night. Sharon Dorsey said that APS tends to listen to the “squeaky wheel” while those who don’t have the time, energy or connections to press their case are often largely ignored. Both Dorsey and Reid Goldstein both pointed to the rollout of iPads and MacBooks in schools as an example of an APS decision-making process they would have approached differently. [InsideNova]

Britt McHenry Returns to ESPN — D.C.-based sports reporter Britt McHenry is back at work at ESPN following the release of a video that showed her berating an Advanced Towing employee in Arlington. McHenry issued an apology and was suspended for a week. [New York Post]

More on I-66 Plans — Arlington officials have “softened” their stance on widening I-66, says Virginia’s transportation secretary, but County Board Chair Mary Hynes insists that the county will only consider widening as a last resort — and only after evaluating the impact of changes to I-66 ten years from now. [Washington Post]

County, APS Consolidate After-School Programs — Starting this fall, Arlington Public Schools will take over the previously county-run Charles Drew and Carver after-school programs. “The consolidation is expected to save $123,000 the first year and $160,000 annually after that,” according to a press release. [Arlington County]

Arlington Man Sentenced for Child Porn — Arlington resident Patrick Friedel, 29, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for the production and possession of child pornography. Friedel pleaded guilty in January, admitting to meeting five underage girls via social networking apps and coercing them to send him sexually explicit images. Prosecutors say Friedel also picked up one of girls and videotaped himself engaging in sadistic and masochistic sexual activity with her.

Flickr pool photo by ksrjghkegkdhgkk

by Ethan Rothstein April 10, 2015 at 1:00 pm 8,734 0

Aman Lail (Photo courtesy Arlington County Sheriff's OfficeThe man who killed a 24-year-old Alexandria resident last January in a drunk-driving collision in Rosslyn was sentenced to 12 years in prison this morning.

Aman Singh Lail was sentenced to 20 years, with nine suspended, for aggravated involuntary manslaughter, plus 12 months for driving under the influence. Lail pleaded guilty to the charges last summer.

The sentence was the maximum allowed upon the plea agreement, and Arlington Circuit Court Judge Louise DiMatteo apologized to the family of the victim, Chowdhury Saqlain, saying no sentence could replace the son they lost.

“I don’t even know what to say to the family seated over here,” she said from the dais. “It’s completely unfair what’s happened to you. It’s wrong.”

Lail had previously been arrested twice and convicted once of DUI in Virginia. He had also been charged with multiple reckless driving and speeding charges, totaling more than 30 citations and arrests.

On Jan. 24, 2014, Lail was driving on Lee Highway at between 53 and 64 mph — the Commonwealth’s Attorney and Lail’s attorneys dispute the speed and blood-alcohol content of the case — when his Jeep Wrangler slammed into Saqlain’s sedan at the intersection of Ft. Myer Drive. Lail could not complete a field sobriety test and initially lied to detectives, telling them a friend “Moe” had been driving his SUV.

“He drove like a maniac, was outrageously drunk and displayed callousness after the fact,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jay Burkholder said during the hearing. Witnesses said he drank between four and five vodka and orange juice drinks and two tequila shots at a hookah bar in Fairfax County. “Because of perverted fate, the defendant is alive and [Saqlain] is dead.”

Lail’s mother testified that her son had been an alcoholic and told her the evening after the crash he didn’t remember what happened. In the 15 months since the crash, Lail’s attorney claimed he had grown up, and asked for leniency in the sentencing.

Chowdhury Saqlain's father, left, and his mother, right, after his killer's sentencing hearing“He has changed a lot, he understands and he knows he took someone’s life,” Lail’s mother said. “He is a very nice boy, he is very good-hearted.”

After the hearing, Saqlain’s family and their attorney, David Haynes of The Cochran Firm, held a press conference outside the courthouse and announced they would be pursuing a civil suit against Lail, asking for $20 million in damages.

Haynes said the family hopes Saqlain’s legacy is fewer drunk-driving deaths. They are also calling on state legislators to make bars and restaurants liable in drunk-driving accidents that occurred after over-serving their patrons.

“Without this law on the books, we are unable to hold these establishments responsible,” Haynes said.

During the sentencing hearing, Saqlain’s stepfather read testimony written by his wife — the victim’s mother — who was quietly sobbing in the front row.

“There will be no more birthdays, he will always be 24,” he read. “My heart aches knowing he had no warning, no ability to prepare. He couldn’t say goodbye.”

by ARLnow.com February 23, 2015 at 4:30 pm 3,592 0

Benjamin Andruss (Photo courtesy ACPD)Benjamin Andruss, who pleaded guilty in October to hitting a pedestrian while drunkenly driving the wrong way on Wilson Blvd in Clarendon, has received a jail sentence.

Andruss will spend 9 months in jail, after Arlington Circuit Court Judge Daniel Fiore handed down a 5 year sentence, with all but the 9 months suspended.

Andruss was also ordered to pay restitution of $70,000, perform 100 hours of community service and spend 5 years on supervised probation — all while remaining sober and submitting to random testing.

During the sentencing, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Josh Katcher said the case was not one of somebody having one too many drinks at dinner and getting pulled over. A friend had urged Andruss not to drive after he consumed 4-5 beers and three glasses of whiskey at a Ballston bar, but he ignored the friend’s pleas and proceeded to drive recklessly through crowded streets.

The pedestrian Andruss struck, meanwhile, suffered debilitating injuries as a result of the crash.

Wrong-way driver strikes pedestrian in Clarendon (Photo courtesy @jacksmith023)“Mr. Andruss… overindulged, was told not to drive, did so anyway, ended up driving the wrong way down Wilson Blvd, and caused [the victim] to suffer permanent impairment,” Katcher said. “After a period of incarceration, Mr. Andruss will start to put this behind him. [The victim] will never be able to do so.”

“Cases like this truly reveal how serious this community takes drunk driving,” Katcher told ARLnow.com. “The judge’s decision to depart from the sentencing guideline” — which called for only probation — “hopefully sends a strong signal to the community.”

Details about the crash, from our previous article:

The crash happened between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12. Prosecutors say Andruss had just left First Down Sports Bar in Ballston, where he had consumed 4-5 beers and three glasses of whiskey while watching afternoon football games. A friend encouraged him to take a cab, but Andruss insisted on driving.

Andruss drove from the Ballston Common Mall parking garage to Clarendon, revving the engine of his Mercedes-Benz at stop lights and “speeding the whole way,” prosecutors said. At the intersection of Wilson, Clarendon and Washington Blvds, he again revved his engine at the stop light, then accelerated straight through the intersection when the light turned green.

Andruss sped the wrong way down Wilson Blvd, past Spider Kelly’s and other bars. His Mercedes ran up on the sidewalk, striking the side of the Clarendon War Memorial. In his path was a pedestrian, a man around 30 years old who works for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The pedestrian tried to dive out of the way, but Andruss struck a parked car, which then struck the pedestrian. The man regained consciousness in the middle of the street.

by ARLnow.com January 12, 2015 at 11:15 am 2,875 0

Roy Anthony Jones (photo courtesy ACPD)A former Virginia Hospital Center employee has been sentenced to twelve years in prison for raping a patient.

Roy Anthony Jones, 31, was working as a CT scan technician on Jan. 13, 2014, when the crime happened. Prosecutors say he had sex with an unconscious 37-year-old woman who had been brought in for alcohol intoxication. When the woman came to, she remembered someone having sex with her after the CT scan and reported the incident to police.

Jones, a D.C. resident, pleaded guilty in July.

On Friday, a judge sentenced him to 12 years in prison followed by supervised probation.

by ARLnow.com December 23, 2014 at 9:35 am 2,327 0

Outside the Pentagon City Metro entrance, just before Christmas (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Summers and Soccer — Summers Restaurant in Courthouse, set to close after Dec. 31, is being eulogized as the Washington area’s premier soccer bar. Though holding out hope for a “miracle,” owner Joe Javidara says he is being forced to close due to financial woes. With more international soccer games available via cable and at other, newer bars, business at Summers has “dropped… off the cliff.” [Washington Post]

Moran Objects to Killing Birds Near Airports — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) wants airports, like Reagan National, to deploy new avian radar technology and stop the practice of euthanizing birds that live near airports. NBC4’s I-Team reports that more than 100,000 animals, including birds, have been “chased away” from the runways at Reagan, Dulles and BWI, to reduce the risk of animal strikes. [NBC Washington – WARNING: Autoplay video]

Arlington Contractor Settles Civil Claim — Arlington resident Keith Hedman, 55, has agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle civil claims related to a fraud sceme. The government sued Hedman, the CEO of security contracting firm Protection Strategies, Inc., alleging that he fraudulently obtained $31 million worth of government contracts intended for minority-owned and disadvantaged small businesses. Last year Hedman pleaded guilty to criminal charges. [U.S. Attorney’s Office]

Arlington Woman Sentenced for Sex Trafficking — Arlington resident and Peruvian national Ruth Antuanet Miller, 35, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for leading a sex trafficking company. Miller pleaded guilty last year to charges that she led a criminal enterprise that prostituted women at hotels and motels around Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and in Fairfax County. On Dec. 19, Miller was sentenced to 84 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $341,437 in restitution.

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com September 22, 2014 at 9:00 am 1,089 0

Squirrel in a water fountain (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

Wilson Blvd Sidewalk Improvements Delayed — Arlington County Board members were apologetic on Saturday after a resident complained about the state of sidewalks along Wilson Blvd in the Bluemont area. The first phase of an improvement project, which will only consist of repaving and restriping the road, is now not slated to take place until the spring. County leaders promised to try to implement the second phase, which will actually improve the sidewalks, sooner rather than later. [InsideNova]

Bar to the Rescue in Crystal City? — Crystal City property owner Vornado hopes Highline, a new bar coming to the neighborhood, will help its growing tech community there after work. Vornado is trying to restyle Crystal City — which has lost government tenants for millions of square feet of office space, as a result of BRAC — as a tech hub. [Washington Post]

Neighborhood Conservation Projects Approved — A $2.5 million slate of four neighborhood improvement projects was approved by the County Board on Saturday. The projects include three in north Arlington and one in south Arlington. [Arlington County]

Bank Robber Sentenced — A D.C. man who robbed two Wells Fargo banks in Arlington has been sentenced to 35 years in prison, federal prosecutors announced. James Link, 57, was accused of robbing a Wells Fargo branch on Nov. 25, 2013, injuring an elderly woman in the process, and a branch on Dec. 31, after which he and an alleged accomplice were arrested by FBI agents who were waiting outside. [U.S. Dept. of Justice]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

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