OAKLAND (CBS SF) — An Oakland man was sentenced on Friday to 152 years to life in state prison for fatally shooting his father and two other men at an apartment in North Oakland four years ago.
Referring to the shooting by Damien Robinson, 35, at an apartment in the 900 block of 54th Street of North Oakland at about 2:45 p.m. on May 23, 2015, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Andrew Steckler said, “This was an event that involved not one, not two but three separate and brutal killings without justification or logical explanation.”
Robinson was convicted on April 9 of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of voluntary manslaughter for fatally shooting his father Darrell Robinson, Benjamin Williams and Raymond Garza.
Jurors also found that Robinson killed his father and Benjamin Williams by intentionally discharging a firearm, which are enhancement clauses that significantly increased the length of his sentence, and of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm.
Alameda County prosecutor John Ullom asked jurors to convict Robinson of three counts of first-degree murder and the special circumstance of committing multiple murders.
Jurors found Robinson guilty of second-degree murder for the deaths of his father and Robinson and of voluntary manslaughters for Garza’s death but found the special circumstance allegation to be not true.
In his closing argument, Ullom ridiculed Robinson’s testimony that he acted in self-defense when he shot the three men.
Ullom said, “Not a single witness or a shred of evidence supports the defendant (Robinson’s) statement.”
Robinson’s attorney Shaylana Cleveland admitted to jurors that Robinson shot his father and the other two men but said he did so in self-defense because he feared for his life.
Cleveland said Robinson had moved into the apartment with his father about six months before the shooting “because he was struggling to turn his life around” but said his father, who she said was a crack cocaine user, “took a turn for the worse” and became less friendly after he began using heroin.
Cleveland said the father and the other men who lived at the house left Damien Robinson alone when he gave them drugs and money but when he stopped doing so they became “hostile” and he told a friend that he thought they were trying to set him up.
The defense attorney said Robinson opened fire because his father and the other two men were trying to rob him.
Cleveland said Damien Robinson fired at the three men because “he had no other choice to save his own life.”
However, Ullom said the three men were unarmed and alleged that Robinson simply gunned them down.
Cleveland asked Steckler on Friday to use his discretion to impose a lighter sentence that would allow Robinson to be eligible for parole at some point in the future and said a sentence of 152 years to life would be “cruel and unusual.”
Robinson has four prior felony convictions: one each for evading an officer, battery with injury on a peace officer, first-degree residential burglary and corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant.
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