Trial Review: Defendant Acquitted of Murder

One of the defendants who was charged in the fatal shooting of Kenneth Poindexter was found not guilty.

Steven Robin, 25, was charged with first-degree murder while armed and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence in the Jan. 20, 2018 shooting of 20-year-old Kenneth Poindexter on the 4700 block of Benning Road, SE.

The jury deliberated for one week on whether 25-year-old Robin was guilty. They acquitted Robin of both first and second-degree murder while armed but found him guilty of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence.

Meanwhile, Antonio McKenzie and Edward Brown, who prosecutors also charged with murder in Poindexter’s death, await their trials from DC Jail.

The trial was originally supposed to include McKenzie, Brown and Charles Young. Back in August, Young pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact voluntary manslaughter for his role as the getaway driver. He was recently sentenced to four years in prison, all of which were suspended, plus plus six months of probation.

The defendants’ cases were all severed due to multiple issues, including McKenize and Brown gaining obstruction of justice charges. They are both accused of threatening a witness while incarcerated, D.C. Witness previously reported.

More than eight witnesses testified during the two-week trial. The prosecution’s case focused on the idea that Poindexter was standing on a street on the 4700 block of Benning Road, SE, when the four drove to where he was. They got out of the car and immediately began shooting, the prosecution alleged. A total of 42 shots were fired but Robin, they argued, sought to “finish him off” before leaving the scene and firing the final bullet.

They also alleged that Robin also later bragged about the murder.

This differs from defense attorney Kristin McGough‘s argument. She focused on the idea that there is not enough evidence to distinguish Robin himself as someone who committed the crime versus anyone else.

“The devil will be in the details,” McGough said during her opening arguments. 

Over eight witnesses testified during the trial, including those who were in a nearby apartment and were with the victim days before his death.

The trial began with a witness testifying over multiple days but not answering any questions. She consistently said she did not know the answer or pleaded the fifth amendment. Eventually, DC Superior Court Judge Dayna Dayson gave her a lawyer in order to assist in the legality of her answers. She then stopped pleading the fifth amendment but continued to not fully remember events leading up to, during or after the homicide.

Instagram messages were shown between this witness and another, who also testified. Both were asked about two confrontations that allegedly occurred the days leading up to the murder but they could not give exact information.

A man who ended up calling 911 after seeing Poindexter’s body also testified. He heard gunshots while working nearby and then saw a man running to a white car.

During his testimony, he described the running man as in his 20s or 30s with short hair and a stocky build. He saw another man with what looked like a gun, standing by the car. He then wrote down the license plate of the car and called 911 at the sight of Poindexter’s body.

DNA evidence was taken into account during the trial. A scientist from the laboratory Signature Science explained the evidence and linked Robin to a water bottle found in the getaway car. While the scientist was confident in the results, McGough heavily questioned them and was able to highlight issues, including how the evidence was originally logged into the wrong shelf.

“Everyone has seen Jurassic Park, DNA lasts forever,” McGough said during her opening arguments. The witness was questioned in depth during her testimony about how DNA works and the fact that while the evidence was there, it did not pinpoint a timeframe but rather the fact Robin had ever been in the vehicle.

Multiple witnesses confirmed that there were no conclusive fingerprints tying Robin to the getaway car. There was no cell phone data tying him to the scene either.

Robin was released from DC Jail soon after the verdict was read.