Hey, there! Log in / Register

Court rules man got a fair trial for 2001 Brighton barbershop murder, so he gets to stay in prison

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that Leon Robinson got a fair trial on charges he gunned down Recardo Robinson in Robinson's Commonwealth Avenue barbershop during an argument in 2001, which means Robinson will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The court did vacate Robinson's conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm, however.

The court's ruling provides a summary of the evidence against Robinson, which led a Suffolk Superior Court jury to convict him of first-degree murder for shooting Robinson in his Commonwealth Avenue shop just a couple of weeks before he was planning to close it for good and move to North Carolina to join his wife, who had gotten a job there, and six young children.

On the afternoon of February 21, 2001, the shop saw many visitors, as the victim was closing down the shop before moving to North Carolina. Among the visitors that afternoon were Maurice McIntosh, a friend of the victim who had previously worked at Hair Textures, and James Rainey, who was a regular at the shop. The defendant, who was not a regular at the barbershop but was a family friend of the victim, was also present, having received a haircut at the shop earlier in the afternoon. By around 4:20 P.M., only four men remained in the barbershop: the defendant, the victim, McIntosh, and Rainey.

The victim began lecturing the defendant about how the defendant needed to "straighten up" and change the way he was living his life in order to take better care of his children. The lecture upset the defendant, and the defendant showed the men in the barbershop that he was carrying a black revolver. The victim looked at his cell phone, and the defendant asked the victim who he was calling. The victim told the defendant he was not calling anyone, and again began lecturing the defendant on how to live his life. The entire conversation between the victim and the defendant lasted about five minutes, at the end of which the defendant pulled out his gun and shot the victim once in the chest. The victim fell, and the defendant shot the victim twice in the back and once in the back of the head. Rainey ran to the back of the barbershop and descended a staircase to the basement, where he hid until he was found by police. McIntosh fled out the front door and ran to a nearby pizza shop, where he called 911.

Dorinda Carter was parking her car on Commonwealth Avenue outside Hair Textures at the time of the shooting. She saw the defendant pull a gun from his waist area and shoot at the victim. The victim fell, and the defendant shot twice more. The defendant left the barbershop.

The court recounted that additional evidence against Robinson included finding clothes in his West Roxbury apartment that matched that described by witnesses, along with a stain on his left jacket sleeve that turned out to be blood, with DNA that matched Robinson's.

The court rejected Robinson's argument that police didn't have probable cause to search his apartment on Spring Street, saying witness descriptions gave them a reason to look for Robinson and evidence linking him to the murder. Robinson had earlier sued police and then Mayor Tom Menino in federal court on the issue, but lost there as well.

Free tagging: 
PDF icon Complete ruling147.55 KB


Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!