JUDGE

Driver Convicted in Arlington Hit-and-Run Trial

Trial disrupted over possible jury photos

An Arlington jury returned a guilty verdict Thursday in the trial of Omar Mohammed, the man accused of hitting an elderly pedestrian last February and driving away.

Mohammed was convicted on counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, reckless injury to the elderly causing serious bodily injury and leaving the scene of an accident.

The sentencing phase will begin Friday morning.

Proceedings were delayed late Thursday afternoon when one of Mohammed's relatives appeared to take pictures of the jury with his phone.

The judge stopped the trial, and that relative, who was not immediately identified, was taken into custody. The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, which provides security for the courthouse, said he’ll be booked into the county jail on one count of civil contempt. A spokesperson for the agency said once they obtain a search warrant, they’ll look through his phone to see what is on it. Depending on what they find, he could be charged with disrupting court proceedings.

That capped off a day of testimony that focused primarily on Mohammed’s decision to board a plane flying out of the country just days after the wreck.

Members of the Arlington Police Department’s fugitive unit and the U.S. Customs & Border Protection officer who arrested Mohammed testified Thursday morning before the prosecution rested its case.

The defense then called Mohammed’s father, Bashir Mohammed, to the witness stand. He told jurors he and his family had no knowledge of the crash until police showed up at his house a few days later to look at his son’s car. He said his son became “very scared” at that point.

The family consulted with multiple lawyers in the area, then checked to see if any warrants had been issued for his arrest. Once they confirmed there were no warrants, they helped Mohammed pay for a one-way ticket from Dallas to Amman, Jordan. By the time he boarded the flight, Arlington police had issued a warrant for his arrest. The plane was called back to the gate and U.S. Customs & Border Protection took him into custody.

Bashir Mohammed said he respects the laws of the United States and had he seen the warrant, he would never have let his son try to leave the country. His lawyers argued that because he tried to confirm his warrant status before he boarded the plane and was unaware any had been issued at that time, he did not break any laws by getting on the flight.

Neither Omar Mohammed nor his defense team are denied that he hit Terry Pinkston with his car last February, then drove off. After his father finished testifying, he approached Pinkston and said he was sorry for what happened to him.

Omar Mohammed’s attorney, Jim Shaw, said he believed the charges prosecutors are seeking are too severe for the crime.

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