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Lancaster County Public Defender Mark Grier told Judge Brooks Goldsmith that the case of a 17-year-old charged with murder after the teen’s brother was hit by a car last year has been one of the most difficult cases he’s been associated with.
Grier represented Alphonzo Markee Robinson, who was charged last July with murder, assault and battery with intent to kill and possession of a pistol by a person under 18.
Robinson pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter in general sessions court on Friday.
Goldsmith sentenced Robinson to 15 years.
The events leading up to the murder of Paul Brown, 28, started with a fish fry on Memorial Park Road.
Alphonzo’s brother, Marcus, was involved with an argument that started over a beer taken from someone’s cooler or who was the best fisherman, according to varying witness accounts.
Marcus Robinson left the fish fry and picked up his brother and drove down Memorial Park Road.
Sixth Circuit Solicitor Barfield said Marcus Robinson reportedly hung out the window of the SUV and fired shots at the person he was fighting with earlier.
Brown followed the Robinsons’ SUV and ran over Marcus Robinson when he fell out of the SUV, Barfield said.
As a result, law enforcement was called to the scene for a hit and run. Alphonzo Robinson spoke to his brother as he lay in a ditch with a broken leg.
Grier said Alphonzo Robinson thought his brother was dying.
Barfield said Alphonzo Robinson was searched by officers at the scene before he asked to get into the ambulance with his brother.
Barfield said when Alphonzo Robinson got out of the ambulance, he had a .38-caliber handgun and pointed it at Brown, who was sitting nearby.
Brown pushed the gun away, and ran, and with law enforcement officers all around, Alphonzo Robinson shot him in the back.
Referring to Alphonzo Robinson’s statement, Barfield said the teen was “super mad, the maddest I had ever been. It was like I was in the zone.”
Bystander Terrance Grier, 51, was shot once in the arm.
“This is another sad and tragic case,” Barfield said.
Grier said Alphonzo Robinson had no criminal record, and when he spoke to school officials about him, they were “flabbergasted” when they learned what the teen had done.
“It’s such a tragedy, for his family that he’s going to be away from them for a while, and for the victim’s family and their loss,” Grier said.
Several of Brown’s family attended the guilty plea, a few of them wearing T-shirts with his photo on them.
Nina Moore, Brown’s mother, said she knows Alphonzo Robinson is remorseful about what happened. But that won’t bring back her son, and neither will whatever sentence was handed down, she said.
She urged Alphonzo Robinson to get God in his life.
“You get him (God) in your life and you can do what you need to do, even in prison,” Moore said. “Think twice before you take an action.”
Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at email@example.com or at (803) 283-1151