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Florida Woman Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison for the Voluntary Manslaughter of Her Girlfriend

Baltimore, Maryland – Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Janice Martina Mason, age 30, of Melbourne Florida, to nine years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release for voluntary manslaughter. On May 18, 2023, Mason was convicted after trial for running over her girlfriend on the Baltimore-Washington (“BW”) Parkway and leaving her to die.

The sentence was announced by Erek L. Barron, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland; Acting Special Agent in Charge David Geist of the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Washington Field Office Criminal and Cyber Division; and Chief Jessica M. E. Taylor of the U.S. Park Police (“USPP”).

According to the evidence presented at her eight-day trial, in the early morning hours of November 24, 2021, USPP officers responded to a citizen report for a body on the side of the BW Parkway northbound, north of Route 197, an area within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. Officers found the victim lying face down on the shoulder of the road. Medics arrived on the scene and pronounced the victim dead. The evidence showed that that there were no skid marks or vehicle parts located at the scene. A cellphone belonging to the victim was found on the grass and another cellphone with a broken screen was found in the roadway and was later determined to belong to Mason.

There was testimony that later on November 24, 2021, Mason contacted the USPP Greenbelt Station and advised that she’d lost her phone on the BW Parkway after it had been thrown out of her vehicle, and she tracked the location to USPP Criminal Investigations. Mason then agreed to come to the station for an interview. Witnesses testified that Mason advised the USPP detective that she was visiting from Florida and was staying at her mother’s house in Washington, D.C. Mason falsely told the detective that she was driving the victim and another woman home to Laurel, Maryland, in a black Nissan vehicle when the other woman started hitting Mason. Mason said she pulled over to the side of the highway and ordered them out of the car and they walked away. The detective showed her the phone found in the roadway of the BW Parkway and she identified it as her phone. She also identified a photo of the victim as one of the people she was driving home.

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Evidence was presented that on November 25, 2021, a USPP detective went to Mason’s mother’s home, spoke with Mason and obtained her written consent to seize and search the contents of her phone, which had been returned to her, and to tow and examine a black Nissan vehicle parked behind the residence, which Mason confirmed was the vehicle she’d used to drive her friend’s home. While at the residence, the USPP detective noticed a black Ford Expedition parked down the street with the tag “JANICE.” Investigators subsequently determined that Mason had been driving the Ford Expedition on November 24, 2021 and not the Nissan vehicle. They went back to Mason’s mother’s residence to tow the Ford Expedition, which was found to have visible damage to the hood, front grille, and the passenger side running board.

As detailed in trial testimony, on November 26, 2021, Mason had a second voluntary interview with USPP investigators. She acknowledged that the was driving the black Ford Expedition on the morning of November 24, 2021 and advised investigators that it was just Mason and the victim in the car that day. The Ford Expedition was processed and searched by the FBI’s Evidence Response Team. A swab from the indented hood area was collected and sent to the FBI Laboratory for DNA analysis and concluded that it was DNA from the victim. The FBI Laboratory examined impressions that were collected from the undercarriage of the Ford Expedition and determined that one corresponded in pattern and size with the victim’s shoe.

At today’s sentencing, the Court found that in the heat of passion Mason purposefully drove into the victim and then left her on the highway to die.

U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the USPP and the FBI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Kim Y. Oldham and Ari Evans, who prosecuted the case. Mr. Barron also recognized Paralegal Specialist Kristy Penny for her assistance.

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