Nearly seven years went by before police made any arrests in the death of 46-year-old Kevin Robinson. Now, they think they have their men, and one of them is the victim’s son. A detective who investigated the homicide testified during a two-day preliminary hearing to determine if the case against the defendants has enough evidence to go to trial.
During the early hours of Nov. 30, 2014, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers found Robinson lying on the couch of an apartment on the 600 block of Edgewood Street, NE, with a gunshot wound to the face. Charles Jeter is charged with second-degree murder while armed in connection with his death. Robinson’s son, Kevin Sewell, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
The case was previously handled by a detective who left the MPD Homicide Branch in 2019. The case was reassigned to another detective who spoke to many of the witnesses interviewed by the previous detective.
The new detective prepared the arrest warrants for Jeter, 36, and Sewell, 32, and took the stand during both days of the preliminary hearing on Feb. 24 and March 7.
The defendants released a rap video two days after the homicide, the detective said. In it, Jeter identifies himself and can be seen wearing what appears to be the same shoes as what he could allegedly be seen wearing in surveillance footage from the apartment Robinson was found in. He could be heard saying, “certified head hitter n****, knocked his sh** off his shoulders.” The detective inferred that Jeter was alluding to shooting someone in the head.
The testimony referenced a cell phone ping that hit an Edgewood cell tower a couple of hours prior to the homicide and again less than an hour after the homicide. The detective created an FBI report to get facial recognition and height analysis from the video but it came back inconclusive.
One of the witnesses was inside the apartment at the time of the shooting and claimed to have locked the front door before going to sleep. According to court documents, the witness was awakened by loud bangs but did not immediately recognize them to be gunshots. The witness left the bedroom and walked into the living room to find Robinson lying on the couch with a large hole in the side of his face. According to the detective’s testimony and court documents, there were no signs of forced entry into the apartment, and the witness told officers that the spare key to the apartment was missing.
The witness told officers that Robinson and Sewell got into an altercation prior to the homicide. The witness said Sewell physically attacked his father, knocking him to the floor.
Surveillance cameras in the apartment building are on every odd number level in the stairwells. The lead detective made a PowerPoint of clips from the surveillance cameras from the morning of the homicide. Video clips show men believed to be the defendants going up and down in the stairwell prior to the shooting, as well as one of them leaving the building shortly after the shooting while the man believed to be the other defendant, who lived in the building, goes back up to his apartment.
Defense attorneys Rachel McCoy and Carrie Weletz cross-examined the detective on his testimony and the clips that were shown to the court. In a conspiracy charge, the prosecution has to show an agreement to commit the crime, willing participation in the crime, and an overt act that would’ve taken place.
McCoy asked the detective when her client, Sewell, allegedly entered the conspiracy and what the agreement was. The detective referred to the prior physical altercation between him and his father and alleged that the two defendants created the intent together since they both came down from the 7th floor of the apartment building together, as seen on the surveillance video footage.
Weletz asked the detective how he could identify her client, Jeter, from the surveillance footage. He referred to his shoes, hair and clothing.
The video footage does not show blood spatter on either defendant nor could they be seen with a gun, as Weletz pointed out. The detective alleged that this was because Jeter showed Sewell how to break down that specific shotgun for concealment.
The detective said the MPD received several anonymous tips that the person who committed the murder was Robinson’s son, prompting them to look into the connection. Sewell allegedly said in an interview that his father “had it coming.”
Prior to the homicide, many witnesses stated that Jeter and Sewell are always together and were together for a sale of a shotgun that was the same one used in the homicide. The two allegedly sold the shotgun less than two weeks after the murder.
A witness claims they heard Jeter say, “I can get life man for this shit man, that’s why I gotta stay low kid.”
The prosecution argued that its clear that Jeter and Sewell were in the building and the vicinity the night of the murder, as corroborated by the picture posted on social media. The prosecutor argued that the rap video which shows the Edgewood community put them in the general area in the general timeframe of the homicide. The prosecutor maintained that there was a clear discussion on how to conceal the particular shotgun prior to the murder and that there was motive to kill the decedent, the altercation between the decedent and Sewell.
Weletz argued that is no probable cause as it was not unusual for Jeter to be in the building since he lived there. There’s no evidence of forced entry and Jeter did not have access to the apartment, there is no blood or weapon on him and there is no way that he would have been able to conceal a shotgun with that he was wearing, she argued. Weletz also argued her client does not have a motive to commit the crime.
McCoy said there is an absence of the agreement between Jeter and Sewell to conspire, there is no evidence that ties Jeter and Sewell, and no evidence of intent of Sewell to join the crime. McCoy also argued that the identification of Sewell is not reliable as they were not able to get a positive identification from the videos or from the FBI and the testimony of one of the witnesses is the only evidence. She said that in one of the clips shown to a witness, who identifies the person as Sewell, is wrong as the person in the video had a different build and had different facial features.
“This is not a traditional case,” said DC Superior Court Judge Milton Lee.
Judge Lee said this case has an unusual set of circumstances and conspiracy is a rare charge to have. Still, he said there were many compelling facts to show probable cause.
Citing their criminal history, Judge Lee decided to defendants will remain held at DC Jail pending trial. Judge Lee informed the prosecutor that they need to get an indictment rather quickly and set a status hearing on April 21.