FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 28, 2011
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Sister and Brother Are Sentenced to Decades in Prison
For 2009 Murder and Robbery of Store Owner
- Defendants Later Burned Gloves, Other Evidence -
WASHINGTON - Shanika Robinson, 28, and her brother, Leon Robinson, 27, both of Washington, D.C., were sentenced today to decades in prison on murder and other charges for their roles in the armed robbery and murder of a Northeast Washington store owner, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
A jury convicted the defendants in August 2011, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, on charges of conspiracy, second degree burglary while armed, armed robbery, and tampering with evidence. Additionally, the jury found Leon Robinson guilty of three counts of first degree murder while armed and Shanika Robinson guilty of one count of first degree murder while armed and one count of second degree murder while armed.
The Honorable Judge William M. Jackson sentenced the Robinsons today. Shanika Robinson was sentenced to 54 years of incarceration. Leon Robinson was sentenced to a prison term of 75 ½ years.
According to the government’s evidence at trial, a chain of events – motivated by greed, anger and revenge -- led to the 2009 murder of Shahubbudin Rana, 44, owner of the Pizza Mart located at 2300 4th Street NE.
“This brother and sister will spend more than a half-century each in prison for their murder of a small business owner in the back room of his pizza store,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “These sentences make plain that outrageous violence fueled by greed will receive the harsh punishment it deserves.”
In October 2008, Shanika Robinson married Mr. Rana’s brother for the purpose of helping him obtain a green card. In exchange, she was to receive from Mr. Rana $2,000 a month and other benefits. However, in the summer of 2009, Mr. Rana learned that Shanika Robinson was involved in at least one extra-marital affair and stopped making the monthly payments to her.
Shanika Robinson then enlisted the assistance of her brother, Leon Robinson, and an accomplice, Isiah Genus, with whom she had a sexual relationship, in robbing Mr. Rana. The three conspired to carry out the robbery. According to the evidence, two days before the robbery and murder, the three went to the Pizza Mart to execute their plan to rob Mr. Rana, but aborted their plan when there were witnesses in the area.
Just days later, on August 18, 2009, in the early morning hours, they returned to the Pizza Mart and executed their plan. On this occasion, Shanika Robinson convinced Mr. Rana to open the door for her. Upon entry, she held the door open, allowing Leon Robinson and Genus to enter. Leon Robinson immediately stabbed Mr. Rana at the point of his entry into the premises. He and Genus then forced Mr. Rana to a back room, where they repeatedly punched, kicked, stabbed, and beat him with a hammer.
After Mr. Rana fell unconscious to the floor, Leon Robinson and Genus set the body afire. Mr. Rana was stabbed more than a dozen times in his torso, received numerous horizontal lacerations about the neck and upper chest, and suffered fatal blunt force trauma to his head, resulting in a depressed fracture and multiple fractures of the skull.
During the killing, Shanika Robinson stole money, cigars, bleach, and other items from the store. The three assailants left the premises with the stolen items, along with the gloves that were worn by them, the hammer, and the knife. Subsequently, they returned to Shanika Robinson’s residence, which was then in Capitol Heights, Maryland, where they burned their clothes and gloves and discarded of other evidence.
Genus, 28, earlier pled guilty to charges of second degree murder and conspiracy. Genus, of Washington, D.C., is to be sentenced November 3, 2011.
In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of the Metropolitan Police Department, especially Detectives Robert Cephas, Jr., Eric Fenton, Gus Giannakoulias, Norma Horne, James Wilson, Joshua Branson, and Anthony Greene. He also commended the work of MPD Mobile Crime Officers Tina Ramadhan, Ronald Royster, Keith Slaughter, John Holder, Brenda Floyd and Valerie Campbell, and Fifth District Officer Patrick Thompson and Sixth District Detective Sergeant Durriyyah Habeebullah. In addition, Mr. Machen praised the efforts of U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Jeff Shaffer, and handwriting examiner John Cawley, of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, who assisted in the case.
Mr. Machen additionally praised the extraordinary work of Paralegals Alesha Matthews and Sharon Newman, Litigation Technology Specialist Leif Hickling and Thomas Royal, Victim Witness Advocates Marcia Rinker and Deborah Cannon, as well as Law Clerk Justin deBettencourt, Criminal Investigator Durand Odom, and Intelligence Analyst Lawrence Grasso. Finally, he recognized the incredible work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah Sines, Alessio Evangelista and George Pace who investigated and indicted the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn Ballantine and Michelle D. Jackson, who prosecuted the case.