A DC man arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder is expected to stand trial on much lesser charges in connection with the Jan. 2012 shooting death of Howard Ricardo Sampler.
The man, David Tyrone Robinson, was arrested in Nov. 2012. His arrest was announced along with two others in unrelated deaths by a press release from the Metropolitan Police Department.
The press release stated that Robinson was “arrested and charged with Murder Two while Armed.”
The grand jury indicted Robinson last month on lesser charges – carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition – not the more serious charge of second-degree murder while armed. A trial in the case, scheduled to begin Tuesday, was delayed.
Sampler was found by police on Jan. 3, 2012 in the 1500 block of 45th Street N.E. suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to a hospital, where he later died.
According to court documents, Robinson was questioned by police officers May 11, 2012 and was kept for several hours in a police interrogation room. While there, according to a court filing by his defense attorneys, he told officers he shot Sampler after Sampler “threatened his life, brandished a gun and physically assaulted him.”
Robinson said he closed his eyes and shot several times, stopping when he opened his eyes and saw that Sampler was no longer holding a firearm, the filing stated.
Robinson’s defense attorney, Tejal Kothari, argues that that narrative, used by prosecutors to build the case, is invalid because officers didn’t inform Robinson of his Miranda rights before the interrogation. Robinson also didn’t voluntarily speak to police because he was kept in a locked room where leaving required entering a code on a security keypad, Kathari’s motion argues.
A detective “undermined and misrepresented the rights at issue by claiming that Mr. Robinson would not be provided a lawyer during the interrogation,” the defense argued. The detective read from a list of questions related to the Miranda rights, but Kothari says they skipped one: “Are you willing to answer questions without a lawyer?”
The same officers questioned Robinson again Nov. 27. The officers “repeatedly referenced the statements made during the first interrogation” and presented new evidence they had gathered in the months since, the motion said.
Robinson was then arrested, and the news release stating the second-degree murder charge issued. Documents filed with the court that day, though, didn’t mention second-degree murder while armed and Robinson was presented with a weapons violation charge.
William Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said at the time Robinson was being held on the weapons charges while the homicide investigation continued.
Miller declined to comment on the case’s current status.
Robinson’s trial was due to begin Monday before Judge Nash, but both parties agreed to continue the case. Nash is scheduled to rule on the defense motion April 5. Earlier court records indicted Robinson was exploring a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Robinson’s grand jury indictment:
Defense motion to suppress statements:
Charging documents filed in Nov. 2012: