To his family, Davon Robinson was simply “Wooda,” an attentive young father with a taste for wacky socks and his grandmother’s macaroni and cheese.
To Baltimore police, he was a suspected drug dealer, albeit one whose criminal charges were dropped again and again.
Robinson griped often, his family says, about alleged shakedowns by police. It was the theft of $10,000 in cash, allegedly pocketed by a veteran Baltimore police sergeant, that federal prosecutors say led to Robinson’s killing last year.
Without the money, prosecutors say, Robinson couldn’t repay a drug debt. He was shot to death July 1, 2016.
A state murder trial begins Thursday in Baltimore against Antwon Frasier, the 27-year-old from Reisterstown who is charged with killing him.
Frasier’s defense attorney, Tony Garcia, said he was unaware federal prosecutors had linked the killing to an alleged police theft.
“Nobody has disclosed that to us,” Garcia said.
Baltimore prosecutors and police say Frasier confronted Robinson over a debt before shooting him. Federal prosecutors connected the killing to the alleged theft by Baltimore Police Sgt. Thomas Allers.
Allers, 49, led the city’s Gun Trace Task Force, the elite unit that was tasked with taking illegal guns out of the hands of trigger-pullers.
He was indicted on federal racketeering charges last month, the eighth officer indicted in the growing scandal that has consumed the gun unit. The officers are accused of carrying out a campaign of robbery and extortion stretching back at least three years and often targeting suspected drug dealers. Prosecutors say the officers pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars they uncovered while searching homes.
“Allers released detainees and chose not to charge them criminally when he stole cash from them,” prosecutors wrote in his indictment.
Allers’ attorney declined to comment.
The other officers indicted are Sgt. Wayne Jenkins and Detectives Momodu Gondo, Daniel Hersl, Evodio Hendrix, Marcus Taylor, Maurice Ward and Jemell Rayam.
Hendrix and Ward have pleaded guilty. Allers and the rest have pleaded not guilty. Their trials could begin in January.
Prosecutors say the events that led to the killing began on the night of April 28, 2016. They say Allers, Gondo, Hersl and Rayam were watching the townhouse in Northeast Baltimore where Robinson, 31, lived with his girlfriend and their two young daughters.
Rayam wrote of the events in a police report.
The gun unit knew Robinson’s driver’s license had been revoked, Rayam wrote. When they saw him drive away from his home in his 2008 Infiniti G35, they followed him and stopped him. They gave him a citation, Rayam said, and then went back to his house and knocked on the door. Robinson’s girlfriend, Lekyla Whitaker, allowed them to search the couple’s home, Rayam wrote. The couple’s two daughters sat in the living room.
In an upstairs bedroom, the officers found a loaded Ruger 9 mm handgun with the serial number removed, Rayam wrote. They found another loaded handgun in a drawer, he wrote, and a box of ammunition. They arrested Robinson on gun charges.
Rayam’s report mentions no cash. Prosecutors allege Allers took $10,000 from the home. They accused the officers of lying on police reports to conceal stolen cash.
On July 1, 2016, court records show, Robinson appeared in a Baltimore courtroom and listened as a judge stated the gun charges against him. He was released on bail and drove to his grandmother’s house in West Baltimore.
Robinson stopped outside the house shortly after 3 p.m., police say, and a hooded gunman approached. The gunman fired through the car window, shooting Robinson in his head and chest, and ran away.
Witnesses told officers Frasier had confronted Robinson over a debt, police say.
Frasier was charged with murder and committing a violent crime in front of a child. Robinson’s 4-year-old daughter was allegedly present when her father was killed.