BALTIMORE — The photo was damning.
A masked gunman walked into a Hanover gas station on the night of Aug. 7, 2014, and simply shot the clerk working behind the county. The robber was caught by a security camera pointing the weapon that killed Rajinder Kumar, and police quickly released the picture to help identify the suspect.
Monday, the Glen Burnie man Anne Arundel County police charged in the killing pleaded guilty in federal court to robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
In an agreement with prosectors, Robin Tyrone Smith, 27, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to charges stemming from the incident at the Exxon station at 7898 Ridge Road, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
If the court accepts Smith's plea agreement, he will be sentenced March 1 to 40 years in prison.
According to the agreement, Smith entered the Exxon armed with a gun at about 1:30 a.m. and shot clerk Rajinder Kumar during a robbery. Kumar died at the scene.
Evidence showed that a day before the incident, Smith burglarized an apartment near his home, police said. A .45 caliber handgun, ammunition, an X-box gaming system and video games were stolen, according to police.
Smith sold some of the stolen X-box games at a store in Arundel Mills mall the same day as the burglary, police said. Surveillance footage showed Smith wearing the same clothes and shoes at the mall that he wore during the Exxon robbery early the next morning, federal prosecutors said.
Smith also used the stolen gun during the incident at Exxon, prosecutors said.
Clothing and other evidence were seized during the investigation that connected Smith with the robbery and homicide, police said.
Smith was charged in Anne Arundel County with murder, armed robbery and weapons offenses. The case went to the federal level and a federal grand jury indicted him with robbery and weapons offenses, including a charge of using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm in a crime of violence.
Smith admitted during his plea that the murder occurred during the robbery, said Marcia Murphy, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office. Nobody else was charged in connection with the incident, Murphy said.
The death of Kumar prompted one in a series of rallies by members of the community who have been working to bring attention to violent crime in parts of Anne Arundel County. Although there were 127 armed robberies in the county between 2010 and 2014, Kumar's death was the only fatality.
Friends and coworkers collected thousands of dollars in donations to send Kumar's body back to India, where he left behind a wife and two children. Money left over was intended to put Kumar's son through college.
Nabeel Malik, owner of the Exxon, said he received a letter asking if he would like to speak in federal court. He decided not to go.
"It's just tough to see all that," he said. "I was debating whether to go or not. It was kind of hard for me to face all that given it's only been a year and it's been a tough year so far."
Malik said he would be content if Smith is sentenced to 40 years but knows that it will never be enough for the victim's family.
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Brandi Bottalico contributed to this story.