Couple sentenced in hit-and-run death of 2-year-old girl

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter , Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville couple who pleaded guilty in the 2013 hit-and-run death of a 2-year-old girl were sentenced Friday.

Serdarus Scott, 35, received 15 years in prison for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and driving while license suspended or revoked as a habitual felony offender. He had at least 30 traffic stops and multiple offenses on his driving record.

Ariel Siplin, 29, was sentenced to one year in jail for being an accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence.

"There's no way I can express how sorry I am to the family," Scott said. "I know what I did was wrong."

In June 2013, Scott said he panicked behind the wheel after he fatally struck Janya Solomon (pictured) with his vehicle in front of her Ring Lane home on the Southside. He then stopped, got out of his vehicle and told Siplin, his girlfriend, to get in the driver's seat. Siplin fled the scene in the vehicle while Scott fled the scene on foot.

A short time later, Scott got back in the vehicle and the two went into hiding until captured days later.

Investigators said the two drove past Janya's body as she lay lifeless on the pavement. Siplin's attorneys said she didn't know they had hit a child, but prosecutors disagreed.

"The witnesses say they ran to you and said to you, 'Stop, stop, don't leave,'" a prosecutor said. "Those witnesses say they told police they did that. Did they lie or did you just not see them?"

"They lied. Nobody came up to the truck, nobody run me down, nothing," Siplin said.

Janya's mother, Natalie Parker, said she's satisfied with the sentence. She said she forgave the couple a long time ago, but she'll never forget.

"She was taken from me and my life has never been the same since," Parker said. "I cry every night and I can't sleep since."

"What hurts me the most of all are the things I will not get to see her -- first day of school, her first A, the first sports she chooses to play, her first getting grounded, her first 13th birthday, sweet 16, first date," said Antjuan Solomon, Janya's father.

Scott was facing up to 35 years in prison. Siplin was facing up to 20 years.

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