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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 19, 2014

Maryland Woman Sentenced To 6 ½ Years In Prison For Voluntary Manslaughter In Fatal Crash Near Dupont CircleShe Left The Scene After Hitting The Victim

            WASHINGTON - Jorida Davidson, 34, formerly of Chevy Chase, Md., was sentenced today to a 6 ½-year prison term on a charge of voluntary manslaughter stemming from a traffic crash in 2010 that killed a woman near Dupont Circle, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

            Davidson was found guilty of the charge in July 2014, following a jury trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. She was sentenced by the Honorable Lynn Leibovitz.

            In an earlier, separate trial, Davidson was found guilty in June 2011 of negligent homicide, leaving the scene of a collision involving injury, and driving while under the influence of alcohol. That jury at that time was unable to reach a verdict on a charge of voluntary manslaughter, leading to a retrial on that specific charge.

            In the earlier case, Davidson was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison, and she now is serving that time. Judge Leibovitz ordered that today’s sentence run concurrently with the prior sentence, meaning today’s proceedings result in 33 additional months of incarceration.

             According to the government’s evidence, on Oct. 7, 2010, at about 1:30 a.m., Davidson was operating a 2000 Lexus sport utility vehicle heading northbound on Connecticut Avenue NW, just south of Dupont Circle. She was driving in a lane that would take her into a tunnel that goes under Dupont Circle. At almost the last possible instant, Davidson rapidly changed lanes to avoid going into the tunnel, shifting to a non-tunnel lane on Connecticut Avenue.

            At about the same time, the victim, Kiela Ryan, 24, was exiting from a legally parked car on the right side of the street. Davidson hit Ms. Ryan - making no attempt to brake or sound her horn - and then kept driving. An eyewitness got on a bicycle, pursued Davidson’s vehicle and observed the defendant and made a mental note of her car’s tag number.

            Davidson, meanwhile, continued driving to her condominium building in Chevy Chase, Md. Police from Montgomery County, Md., found her in the basement garage there, sitting in her vehicle, at about 2:30 a.m. The right front headlight of the vehicle was damaged. The ignition was off, and Davidson had the keys to the Lexus in her hand. She smelled of alcohol and claimed not to know what had happened.

            After she was struck, Ms. Ryan was taken to a hospital, where she later died.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended those who worked on the case from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He also cited the efforts of the Montgomery County, Md. Police and the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In addition, he acknowledged the work of those who handled the case in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Sandra Lane; Information Technology Specialists Anisha Bhatia and Aneela Bhatia; David Foster and Marcia Rinker, of the Victim/Witness Assistance Unit, and Interns Brian Ganjei and Jacob Hjelmaas. He also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Mannarino and Lauren Bates of the office’s Appellate Division.

            Finally, he praised the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Liebman and Edward O’Connell, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

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Updated February 19, 2015