[Note: Persons accused of a crime in the United States are presumed innocent until proven guilty.]
[Update 6/12/10: Last week the judge sentenced Mr. Gargiulo to 15 years in jail for the murder of Mr. Nazir.]
[Update 3/13/10: Mr. Gargiulo was found guilty of second degree murder in the case involving the death of Mazhar Nazir. Mr. Gargiulo was sentenced to 15 years in prison.]
[Update 3/8/10: The Washington Post reported that Mr. Gargiulo entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity (For more information, see Virginia Criminal Procedure chapter 11 and chapter 11.1). Lawyers informed Judge Bruce D. White that the trial should take four or five days (h/t to the commenter below).]
I have read a crime story in The Washington Post . The story of the accused, Evan Gargiulo, presents many questions to a reader.
Mr. Gargiulo is [accused of allegedly killing] alleged to have killed a taxicab driver, Mazhar Nazir, in a fare dispute ( according to Mr. Gargiulo). Mr. Gargiulo argues through his attorney that Mr. Nazir was shot as Mr. Gargiulo was protecting himself from Mr. Nazir.
According to the prosecutor, Mr. Gargiulo took a cab from downtown D.C. to Reston, VA (which is approximately a 21 mile distance). Because cabs charge by the mile, the fare was going to be rather high.
The story Mr. Gargiulo presents seems incomplete. I had to consider the decision of Mr. Gargiulo to stop first at his apartment ($75 fare) to retrieve his car keys (another set to replace those Mr. Gariulo states were stolen) and a gun. Then, Mr. Gargiulo had Mr. Nazir drive him with his car keys and his gun to his friend’s apartment in Tysons Corner. When they got there the fare increased to $130. It was in Tysons Corner that Mr. Gargiulo discovered that he did not have any money to pay the fare. The dispute ultimately led to Mr. Nazir being shot. The question is what went on during that dispute.
Perplexing questions that this case presents
- If Mr. Nazir presented a threat, why did he lend Mr. Gargiulo his cellphone to call his friend?
- Why did Mr. Gargiulo have Mr. Nazir driving such long distances?
- A wetsuit does not usually have pockets and is tight fitting. So, would not Mr. Gargiulo know that he had a roll of cash in the wet suit?
- If the Mr. Gargiulo’s story is true, why did Mr. Gargiulo stop to get a gun?
- How come Mr. Gargiulo did not report his wallet, car keys, and cellphone stolen while he was in D.C.? How did he carry these items in his wetsuit? [The Penn State college newspaper, The Daily Collegian, states that Mr. Gargiulo carried a bag that held the items he claims were stolen].
- How come Mr. Gargiulo did not discover that he did not have any money when he went to his apartment?
- Why did Mr. Gargiulo park his car at his friend’s home and not his own?
I cannot presume to know the answers to these questions. That is the job of the grand jury and, if the case goes to trial, the petit jury. A potential problem is the lack of witnesses. As the case is presented in the Post, only two people have knowledge of what occurred that night in the cab: Mr. Gargiulo and Mr. Nazir (deceased).
The situation is distressing as it appears that Mr. Nazir lost his life for $130.
The Post reported that the prosecutor offered the state’s version of events, which possibly adds details to the questions posed above.
[Note: These details come from the prosecutor. Mr. Gargiulo could offer evidence which rebut these statements.]
- Mr. Gargiulo told police that he wore a scuba wetsuit to a nightclub’s Halloween party. Mr. Gargiulo carried his wallet, keys, and cellphone in a separate bag, which he said was stolen.
- Mr. Gargiulo told police that he thought he had $200 in his wetsuit.
- Mr. Gargiulo told Fairfax police that once he got to his Reston, VA apartment, he saw his gun and decided to take it. He did this because he felt vulnerable after having his wallet and cellphone stolen.
- Mr. Gargiulo reported the items (wallet, cellphone, and car keys) stolen to D.C police later [November 1 or November 2 (article is unclear on this point)].
The new facts present additional questions to a reader:
- How did Mr. Gargiulo carry his gun?
- How long was Mr. Gargiulo in his apartment?
- Why did Mr. Gargiulo not negotiate with Mr. Nazir over payment of the $130 fare just like he did at the club?
- Why would Mr. Gargiulo feel vulnerable with a taxi driver he negotiated with in D.C. to take him all the way to Reston, VA (near Washington Dulles airport)?
- Why would Mr. Gargiulo need a gun in Reston, VA?
- The loss of a wallet, cellphone, and car keys is distressing. Why did Mr. Gargiulo wait so long to report them as stolen. A stolen cellphone is a mobile credit card, which allows the thief to run up a tab on the owner’s account. A wallet usually contains a person’s identification, cash, credit cards, and other dear items. Usually it is upsetting even to misplace one’s wallet in one’s own home. Car keys: a loss will require the car to get new locks (a potentially expensive proposition).