South Carolina Man and Woman Plead Guilty to Hate Crime and Conspiracy for Bias-Motivated Armed Robberies Targeting Hispanic Victims
A Missouri man was sentenced in federal court today for committing a hate crime by shooting a local teenager eight times in an attempted murder that was motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation.
Malachi Robinson, 25, of Kansas City, Missouri, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to 262 months in federal prison without parole.
“This defendant’s sentence holds him accountable for the violent and callous hate crime perpetrated against a defenseless teenager targeted because of their LGBTQ+ status,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Recent FBI data makes clear that hate crimes targeting the LGBTQ+ community persist and this sentence should send a strong message to the perpetrators of these crimes that they will be held accountable. Bias motivated misconduct has no place in our country, and the Justice Department is committed to working with our federal, state and local partners to vigorously pursue justice for victims targeted because of their sexual orientation.”
“This significant penalty brings a measure of justice to the young victim and to the larger LGBTQI+ community,” said U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore for the Western District of Missouri. “To ambush and shoot an unwitting victim, who posed no threat to him, for no other reason than his sexual orientation is reprehensible behavior that won’t be tolerated. Our entire community must stand together against acts of violence motivated by hatred for any group of people. The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all citizens and prosecuting those who illegally threaten those rights.”
“This sentencing validates that bias-motivated crimes will not be tolerated and demonstrates law enforcement’s continued commitment to aggressively investigate and bring to justice those responsible for these heinous crimes. To target an individual, lure them and shoot them multiple times for no other reason than their perceived sexual orientation is reprehensible,” said Special Agent in Charge Charles Dayoub of the FBI Kansas City Field Office. “The sentence imposed today reflects the severity of the crime committed against the victim and the entire LGBTQI+ community. Every individual has the right to live without fear of being attacked or harassed, regardless of their sexual orientation. The FBI is committed to working with our federal, state and local partners to protect the civil rights of all. “
On July 7, 2022, Robinson pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Robinson has been in federal custody since he was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 10, 2021.
By pleading guilty, Robinson admitted that he shot the then-16-year-old victim, identified in court records as M.S., approximately eight times with a Taurus 9mm pistol in an attempt to kill him because of his sexual orientation, causing life-threatening injuries.
After a chance meeting at the Kansas City Public Library on May 29, 2019, Robinson and M.S. talked briefly over Facebook Messenger before meeting outside the library. According to court documents, library surveillance footage showed that M.S. began to walk away, and Robinson followed him, catching up to M.S. before crossing the street. The two then walked for a while in the Swoop Park area, until Robinson suggested that they go into a wooded area nearby under the guise of looking for a place to engage in a sex act. Around the same time, Robinson wrote separately to his girlfriend that he “might shoot this boy” because of his sexual orientation.
Robinson and M.S. entered a wooded area nearby. M.S. changed his mind and turned to leave the woods, but Robinson pulled out his pistol and fired repeatedly at M.S. M.S. was able to get up and onto a sidewalk in front of the woods. He moved along the sidewalk until he eventually collapsed in front of a nearby apartment building. A bystander called 911, and police officers and emergency medical services responded. M.S. was transported to a local hospital, where he was deemed to be in critical condition.
M.S., who sustained eight gunshot wounds, survived the shooting after spending approximately two weeks in the hospital. M.S. has since suffered long-term effects of the shooting. He has undergone multiple surgeries and physical therapy and still has several bullets inside of him.
Robinson fled through the woods toward his apartment building and engaged in attempts to avoid detection or arrest. Later that day, and in the days that followed, Robinson told others that he shot M.S. because of his sexual orientation.
The FBI Kansas City Field Office and the Kansas City Police Department investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dave Ketchmark for the Western District of Missouri and Trial Attorneys Shan Patel and Eric Peffley of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section prosecuted the case.