The trial brought forth by the commonwealth against Mashkhal Ibrahim, 27, who’s accused of striking Jared Antle with a black Honda Pilot, began Thursday at approximately 9:06 a.m. Ibrahim pled not guilty.
After opening statements were delivered, the prosecution called its first witness out of 17 to the stand. Edgar Baterga, a junior marketing major and Antle’s freshman year suitemate, was driving the silver 2004 Toyota RAV4 that the Pilot struck slightly after 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 24, 2018. He said he saw Antle on the ground and was the one to contact his parents.
Aidan Everett, a senior music major and the commonwealth’s seventh witness, said he was on the porch of a house across the street when the accident happened. After hearing the crash, he walked over to the scene, where he saw Ibrahim reach into the Pilot’s driver’s side door, grab an unidentified object and walk away from the site of the crash, heading into the adjacent neighborhood. After giving a description, Everett identified Ibrahim as matching the description of the driver.
Multiple individuals from the Harrisonburg Police Department testified about their procedures throughout the investigation. On top of that, FBI special agent Jeremy D’errico presented a powerpoint showing how he used Ibrahim’s phone signal to pinpoint his location throughout the night of the incident.
Commonwealth attorney Victoria Jensen also brought forward Nicole Harold, a forensic biology section supervisor for the Virginia Department of forensic science, who discussed her examination of Ibrahim’s airbag and seat buckle. While testifying, Harold said that Ibrahim is, “most likely,” the main contributor to the “DNA mixture profile” found on the airbag and that the chance that it wasn’t his DNA is about one in 7.2 billion.
Judge Thomas J. Wilson adjourned Thursday’s assembly at 4:30 p.m., which will resume Friday at 9 a.m. with the defense presenting its witnesses. The Breeze reached out to Antle’s family and Aaron Cook, Ibrahim’s attorney, for comment after the recess was announced but was declined by both parties.
Friday’s session began with testimonies from Tamara Olguin, Ibrahim’s girlfriend at the time of the incident, Harrisonburg Police Cpl. Wayne Westfall and the defendant, Mashkhal Ibrahim.
The defendant recalled the crash for the jury, stating that after the impact, with his ears ringing, he approached the RAV4 and saw no one inside. Ibrahim then fled the scene once he heard sirens, claiming that the sounds made him panic due to his preexisting criminal record.
“I should’ve never left,” Ibrahim said.
In her closing statement, assistant commonwealth’s attorney Victoria Jensen said, “There is no way that the defendant didn’t realize Jared was injured.”
Meanwhile, when defense attorney Aaron Cook addressed the jury, he said, “The question is: Did he leave the scene knowing there was bodily injury?”
After approximately four hours of deliberation, the jury was unable to form a unanimous decision, and Judge Thomas J. Wilson declared a mistrial. A hearing will take place Dec. 20 regarding any motions that may be filed by either party and the scheduling of the new trial date.
“I’m just anxious to get back home to Jared,” Ed Antle, Jared’s father, said. “Of course we want to get this resolved.”
CORRECTION (Dec. 15, 12:17 p.m.): A previous version of this article stated that Ibrahim would be retried on Dec. 20, while in actuality, the Dec. 20 hearing will set the date for the second trial.
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