Murder defendant to make not guilty plea in Stamford
STAMFORD - One of two city teens charged with being an accessory to the shooting murder of Antonio Robinson at the end of May will be appearing in court and is expected to make a not guilty plea to the charge that carries as much as 60 years in prison.
The public defender representing the youth, Howard Erhing said on Tuesday that he expects to waive a hearing in probable cause on Karl Davis’ behalf when he appears in court Wednesday morning.
Davis, 17, along wtih Jimmy Jean-Baptiste, 18, have been charged with accessories to the murder of Robinson, who was gunned down under the Interstate-95 overpass at West Avenue on the night of May 31.
The alleged gunman, Sirus Dixon, 15, has been charged with Robinson’s murder.
Ehring said he would be waiving a hearing in probable cause on Davis’ behalf. The hearing is afforded to every murder suspect under state law. Called by many attorneys a “mini trial” the hearing is held to determine if police had enough probable cause to legally file a murder charge.
During the hearing, witnesses for the state are called and cross examined by the defense attorney, allowing a judge to determine if the evidentiary burden for the charge has been met.
But Ehring said he threshold for finding if there was enough evidence is low -a fair preponderance of the evidence- rather than at trial where he would have to be proven to be an accessory to the murder by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In that case, Ehring feels that a judge will find that the charge was warranted against his client.
Ehring also said that if Jean-Baptiste’s attorney ends up demanding a hearing, he will be the beneficiary, without taking any of the risk for his client Davis. Ordinarily attorneys do not want to have such a hearing because the testimony taken at that time can be brought to a future trial if the witness is unable to be found for the eventual murder trial.
Jean-Baptiste is appearing on Thursday with his attorney Lindy Urso. Urso declined to discuss the strategy for his case.
Only after the hearing has been waived can the defendant make a not guilty plea, which Ehring said he would be making on behalf of his client today.
Dixon is the youngest city teen to be arraigned for murder since Marquest Hall faced the charge at the same age for the stabbing death of Antonio Muralles, 52, outside the Bedford Street McDonald’s in 2015.
Stamford police Lt. Tom Barcello said Robinson and another friend were walking south on West Avenue on their way to play basketball at the Chester Addison Community Center on Selleck Street. Robinson and his friend encountered the three defendants under the I-95 overpass, Barcello said.
Barcello said the 15-year-old pulled a gun and shot Robinson as he was running away. The bullet went through Robinson’s back or shoulder and came out through his face, Barcello said. Robinson ran through the tunnel and turned on Baxter Avenue before collapsing next to a parked car, Barcello said.