Defendant Sentenced for Killing Girlfriend

A defendant was sentenced to 12 years in prison for killing his girlfriend. 

Back in June, Steven Robinson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder while armed for shooting his girlfriend, 28-year-old Shanika Williams, on July 12, 2020, on the 800 block of 19th Street, NE.

Robinson, 28, was previously set to be sentenced on Nov. 4, but Judge Neal Kravitz said he needed more time to decide if he would accept the plea agreement after hearing from the victim’s family.

”I don’t know who the state works for, but, in this case, it was not for Shanika Williams,” one of William’s family members said during that hearing.

The plea deal included an agreement between parties that 10 to 12 years would be an appropriate sentence in this case. Typical sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder while armed suggest a minimum of 14 years. If Judge Kravitz rejected the plea deal and Robinson were convicted by a jury, he could have faced a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. 

During the previous hearing, defense attorney Matthew Davies said Robinson pleaded guilty early on because he had been living under poor conditions at DC Jail.

Judge Kravitz decided to accept the plea agreement rather than send the case to trial. He said trials were too risky and he did not want Williams’ children, who were witnesses in the case, to have to testify in front of a grand jury. Williams’ mother previously expressed that she did not want her grandchildren to have to testify.

The prosecutor requested a 12-year sentence along with domestic violence counseling for Robinson, saying Robinson’s actions may fit into a larger cycle of domestic violence. Davies said his client would be happy to undergo domestic violence treatment, but only if it was recommended after an evaluation.  

Davies requested a lighter sentence, saying it would be easier to be certain that Robinson was complying with treatment requirements if he were to spend less time in prison. 

Judge Kravitz agreed to impose a 12-year sentence, which will be followed by 5 years of supervised release. He must undergo domestic violence and anger management treatment while in prison. Additionally, Robinson is required to register as a gun offender for seven years following his release from prison. 

The impact statements of Williams’ family were heard in an earlier hearing, but Judge Kravitz asked Robinson if he had any words of his own during the Nov. 9 sentencing. Robinson said “I apologize to Ms. Williams’ family…it was in cold blood…I don’t even think I will probably ever be at peace. She was my friend.” Judge Kravitz thanked Robinson for his apology and said he hoped Williams’ family would one day be able to appreciate the apology as well. 

“I want to thank everyone for your thoughtfulness during this case,” Judge Kravitz told Williams’ family, “if you are disappointed in this outcome, I understand and appreciate your disappointment.”