The post-traumatic stress disorder defense didn’t work in a fatal hit-and-run case. Jorida Davidson was convicted Tuesday.
Police said the 31-year-old driver, an Albanian immigrant in the country on a green card, drove her Lexus SUV into 24-year-old Kiela Marie Ryan near Dupont Circle in October and then continued driving. Ryan was getting out of a car when she was struck. She had been celebrating her birthday.
A bicyclist took down the license plate number and called police, who found Davidson asleep behind the wheel at her condo on North Park Avenue.
Davidson refused to take a breath test, and the prosecution contended that she was drunk. The defense said her behavior was a result of post-traumatic stress syndrome caused by her childhood in Albania and the death of her parents when she was young. She fell asleep behind the wheel because sometimes she considered sleep a “safe place,” the defense said.
"The defense was quite adept at creating the spin doctor kind of defense and the hocus pocus, and that's his job, I guess," Ryan's father, John Ryan, said after the verdict.
Davidson was found guilty Tuesday on three charges: negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident and driving under the influence.
Because of Davidson’s ties to Europe and prior drunken driving incidents, the judge deemed her a flight risk and ordered her held without bond until sentencing on Sept. 9. She had been on electronic monitoring prior to the trial, before her prior drunken driving incidents were revealed.