GREENBELT, Md. — The youngest alleged attacker in a now-infamous and deadly carjacking near Nationals Park back in March is still working on a plea deal.
At a brief hearing Wednesday, lawyers for the 13-year-old girl said prosecutors just gave them a new offer for a guilty plea in the death of UberEats driver Mohammad Anwar.
The attack is one of the more disturbing cases in a surge of carjackings. DC Police report 129 in the District so far this year, which is double last year's rate, according to prosecutors.
Court officials said a 15-year-old girl who attacked Anwar reached a plea deal earlier this month. But the details of the offer -- like how long and where she'll serve any sentence -- remain shrouded by the rules of secrecy surrounding juvenile court hearings.
The attack was brutal, but at Wednesday's hearing, which was held via video, the 13-year-old sat quietly in a detention facility and said nothing when her father told her he loved her.
Earlier in the day, outside the federal courthouse in Greenbelt, a new task force of state and federal prosecutors and police departments from across the region unveiled a new plan to make carjackers pay.
"We must, and we will, hold young people accountable for their actions," Prince George's State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy said.
Maryland’s acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lenzner said carjackers who may have thought they could get away with it by fleeing across state lines are now facing federal charges that could send them to prison for even longer. He pointed to the federal case against four young people who allegedly committed a violent spree of 21 armed robberies and carjackings across the region earlier this year.
"In this case, that is multiple armed robberies and carjackings in one charging document and that will send a message," Lenzner said.
Two of the individuals charged are facing potential life sentences if convicted.
“Crime doesn’t stop at the border of one jurisdiction to another neither should justice," Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said. "Violent criminals who commit carjackings wreak havoc all around the DMV and this joint task force will hold them accountable for their horrible acts against unsuspecting residents no matter where it happens or where they’re from."
Lenzner said that between the pandemic and the protests for police reform, there may have been a perception in some quarters that carjacking penalties are no longer being enforced. He’s hoping to send out the message loud and clear: jack up a citizen and you’ll face the maximum penalty for all your crimes.