Man, 19, gets 55 years in killing of youth on bus

October 08, 1998|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

No one knows why Davon Robinson, a 19-year-old Cherry Hill man who family and friends called upstanding, suddenly opened fire on a Mass Transit Administration bus last year in Baltimore.

And no one will probably ever know, Judge Clifton J. Gordy Jr. said yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court as he sentenced Robinson to 55 years in prison. "I'm not sure even Mr. Robinson understands," Gordy said.

The shooting left Rodney Barnes, a 15-year-old student, dead and two wounded.

Assistant State's Attorney Gerard B. Volatile told the judge that Robinson was capable of doing it again. After the shooting, Robinson went home, reloaded his gun and put it back in his bag, the prosecutor said.

"Something happened to him that made him very angry," Volatile said. He "was waiting for someone to cross his path so he could release that anger."

Robinson, a former National Guardsman, pleaded guilty in August to first-degree murder, assault and handgun charges as the jury was about to begin deliberating after a four-day trial.

On Sept. 10, 1997, Robinson shot Rodney Barnes five times. He continued to pull the trigger after the gun was empty of bullets.

Robinson's attorney argued that he overreacted to what he thought was a threat from the teen-ager. She said he had been robbed two weeks earlier.

Psychiatrists "can't explain why it happened, and they don't think he has the personality [of a killer]," said Assistant Public Defender Janette E. DeBoissiere.

That means little to Barnes' mother, Jametta Hill, who told Gordy she could never forgive Robinson. "It's something I wish upon no mother," Hill said.

Yesterday, Barnes' sister, Dionda Hill, 11, walked up to make a statement to the judge. "I miss him," she said.

Pub Date: 10/08/98

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