‘Everyone is Afraid of Violence… All We Can Do is Punish the People Who Do Get Caught,’ Says Judge of Crime Linked to Gang

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On Feb. 23, DC Superior Judge Michael O’Keefe sentenced two brothers in connection to a non-fatal shooting case that left a victim paralyzed. 

Earl Robinson, 31, and Keith Robinson, 32, were originally charged with assault with intent to kill while armed, aggravated assault knowingly while armed, and two counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, among other charges, for their involvement in a non-fatal shooting incident that occurred on Oct. 19, 2021, on the 3400 block of 13th Place, SE. The shooting left an individual suffering from life-threatening injuries and paralyzed.  

On Dec. 15, Earl and Keith accepted a deal that required them to plead guilty to aggravated assault while armed, in exchange for dismissal of all charges. Through the deal, parties agreed to a 60-to-90 month sentence for Keith, and a 72-to-120 month sentence for Earl. 

During the sentencing, prosecutors asked the court to sentence both defendants on the higher end of the sentencing guidelines, eight years for Keith, and ten years for Earl. Although both defendants were involved, Keith only fired at the victim twice, while Earl fired at him multiple times, according to prosecutors. 

The prosecution mentioned that there was a third person involved and was seen in video surveillance footage of the incident. Although both defendants were with this unidentified individual, they never revealed the person’s identity.

Prosecutors believe that the shooting was intentionally planned by the Congress Park Crew, to which the brothers allegedly belong.  Crews are gangs that operate in various locations around DC and have been linked to numerous violent crimes.

Keith’s defense attorney, Jason Clark, stated that Keith has taken responsibility for his actions and that his lack of criminal history suggests this behavior was not normal. Additionally, Clark highlighted that Keith has a lot of potential, citing his completion of two years of college, his record of employment, and role as a father to his two children. 

Clark emphasized that Keith is taking actions to make things right, and has moved out of the neighborhood where the incident occurred with the help of his family.

Keith addressed the court, saying that he accepts full responsibility for his actions and is deeply remorseful for the harm he caused. He added that during the incident, he was intoxicated and was not in the right state of mind. 

Earl’s defense attorney, Kevin Irving, stated that revealing the identity of the third person involved in the shooting would put the defendant’s and their families lives at risk, and urged the court to not hold that against them. 

In his statement to the court, Earl stated he accepts full responsibility for his actions. 

Both defense attorney’s asked the judge to impose a sentence at the lower end of the guidelines.

Judge O’Keefe presumed that there is “clearly more to the story” and he understands why the two defendants don’t want to speak on the identity of the third individual involved. 

“That’s the lifestyle of Congress Park”, O’Keefe stated. “Everyone is afraid of violence…all we can do is punish the people who do get caught and take them out of society for a bit…nothing else helps.”

Judge O’Keefe concurred with the prosecution’s request, and sentenced Keith to eight years in prison with five years supervised release. Then, Keith is required to register as a gun offender within 48 hours. 

Earl was sentenced to ten years in prison with five years of supervised release, and is required to register as a gun offender within 48 hours of his release. 

No further dates were set.

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