How can a jury get it so wrong?
By Dale Appleman
Regarding the March 13 Metro article “15-year sentence in N. Va. shooting”: Both blindfold and scales were stolen from the statue of justice. How can a jury get it so wrong?
The Fairfax County jury’s sentence of 15 years for second-degree murder was crushingly out of sync with the facts behind Evan D. Gargiulo’s killing of cabdriver Mazhar Nazir. The evidence showed that Mr. Gargiulo was an opportunistic passenger who hailed a taxi for a long ride after his wallet, cellphone and keys were stolen from a nightclub. Mr. Nazir took him from the District to Tysons Corner (to retrieve his car), with a stop first at his Reston apartment for the keys.
Is it surprising that after arriving at Tysons Corner, the driver was angry at learning his passenger now “realized” that the “roll of cash” stashed in his Halloween costume (a wetsuit) was also gone? Was the jury conscious when hearing that Mr. Gargiulo just happened to have picked up his 9mm gun along with his car keys at his apartment? Or that he called a friend from home afterward to say this was his “first civilian kill”? I cannot construct a clearer scenario of premeditation than the perpetrator’s decision to grab his gun along with his car keys.
And by the way, the taxi driver was born in Pakistan. Try reversing the characters in this nasty story and see whether you think a Pakistani-born 21-year-old would get off with 15 years for murdering a 49-year-old white American husband and father who had been a cabbie for 25 years. This sentence reflects the degree to which the jury’s sympathy for the wrong person has perverted justice.
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