Christopher Wilson is considering whether to dismiss some charges
against murder suspect Maxx Carson Robison, including a drive-by
shooting allegation that could mean life in prison without parole.
This morning Deputy Public Defender Jennifer Dixon asked Wilson to dismiss the special allegation that Robison killed 19-year-old Rihanna Skye McKenzie by shooting from a car.
That charge “requires intent (to kill)” and there was no intent, Dixon argued. She also asked the judge to dismiss the charge of attempting to murder McKenzie’s boyfriend Elisha Mansell, which Dixon said Robison had no intention of doing.
In the early morning hours of June 30, 2016, McKenzie and Mansell were sitting in a car outside McCullens Motel in Eureka when Robison allegedly opened fire on the car with a semiautomatic rifle. McKenzie died from her wounds, but Mansell was not hit.
Dixon argued Robison had no idea anyone was in the car, which had tinted windows. She also said evidence will show the couple were “in a reclined position” in the vehicle. Second-degree murder is “far more consistent” with the evidence, she said. As for the charges relating to Mansell, she said the appropriate charge would be assault with a firearm.
“If he did shoot, he shot at a car,” Dixon said.
Not long before the shooting, Robison had gone to the motel to buy drugs from Mansell. The men argued, and as Robison and his friends were leaving Mansell fired shots in the air “to intimidate” Robison, Dixon said. Robison told a Eureka police detective he returned to the motel “to do the same thing,” which was to intimidate Mansell.
In fact, Dixon said, there is no evidence Robison knew the car in question belonged to Mansell.
In a taped phone conversation after he was arrested, Robison seemed stunned to be told someone had died. He referred to the dead teen as “some poor innocent lady.” Wilson will be listening to that tape, and also reading the transcript of Robison’s preliminary hearing, as he considers whether to dismiss the charges.
After that hearing Judge Dale Reinholtsen ruled there was enough evidence for Robison to stand trial, though he noted that “what (Robison) knew” about anyone being in the car is the main issue in the case.
Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Schaffer, arguing this morning against dismissing the charges, said all Wilson must consider is whether Reinholtsen’s ruling was correct. And Reinholtsen decided there “was sufficient evidence that he had an intent to kill.”
Schaffer said there is no evidence before the court that McKenzie and Mansell were reclining in the car. A defense expert will apparently testify to that at trial.
Wilson told attorneys they had “a pair of really good trial arguments on either side.” But he indicated his job is to decide “whether there’s substantial evidence to support the magistrate’s (Reinholtsen’s) finding.”
He is expected to issue his ruling on Aug. 24. In the meantime, Wilson did dismiss a separate drugs-in-the-jail charge against Robison. That case was scheduled for a preliminary hearing today. It could not proceed because the prosecution witness, a jail correctional officer, was out of town and not there to testify.
The hearing was previously continued because the correctional officer looked at his report and found discrepancies.
“There were items in his report that differed from his recollection,” Schaffer told the judge this morning. “I asked him to look into who had changed his report.”
But Robison had a right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days of arraignment. Today was the 10th day and Dixon said she was not giving up that right. Wilson dismissed the case, telling the prosecutor “You can refile.”
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- Maxx Robison Arrested in Connection with Yesterday’s Eureka Shooting Homicide
- At the Last Minute Suspected Murderer Maxx Robison Rejects Plea Deal; Trial Will Move Forward
- McCullens Motel Murder Trial: While Witnesses Detail the Boring Night of Drug Jonesing That Led to Shooting of 19-Year-Old Girl, Additional Victim Refuses to Testify
- Maxx Robison Held to Answer on Murder Charges; Defense Says He Only Intended to Shoot Up Empty Car When 19-Year-Old Women Was Killed
- McCullens Motel Murder Suspect Moves to Have Charges Dropped
- McCullen’s Motel Murder Suspect Now Faces New Drugs-In-Jail Charges; Motion to Drop Murder Case Delayed