A grand jury described the murder of 33-year-old Wyatt Earp Robinson as “especially heinous, atrocious and cruel.” Judge Lynn Leibovitz described it as “terrible, unjustifiable and a hot-blooded act.” Robinson’s killer, Ricardo Mitchell, said Friday at his sentencing hearing that he wishes things had turned out differently.
“I humbly apologize to Mr. Robinson’s family and also my family,” Mitchell told a crowded courtroom. “I’m not here to make any excuses. I dread every single day. I just wish things would’ve went a totally different way.”
Mitchell, 34, pled guilty to second-degree murder and a related weapons offense in connection with Robinson’s death in April. Judge Leibovitz sentenced him to 26 years in prison in accordance with that plea agreement Friday.
According to court documents, on the evening of August 21, 2011, Mitchell and Robinson exchanged words outside a residence in the 3900 block of Clay Place Northeast. Robinson then walked away toward his vehicle, where his girlfriend and young child were waiting. Mitchell, meanwhile, ran into the house, grabbed a gun, and then followed Robinson up the street toward Minnesota Avenue.
Documents say that Robinson was within five feet of his vehicle when Mitchell shot him several times. Crime scene investigators recovered nine .40 caliber shell casings at the scene, all from the same gun; Robinson was unarmed, prosecutors say.
Wanda Ortiz, Robinson’s mother, spoke at sentencing Friday and said that she admired her son most for his commitment to being a father to his five children, whose ages range from four to sixteen. Ortiz said that she would call Robinson every Father’s Day, just to let him know how much she respected him.
“Everyone who knew [Robinson] loved him,” Ortiz said. He helped homeless people on the block whenever he could; and at his funeral, there was standing room only, she said.
“I can’t believe that God, in all his wisdom, meant for death to be the end,” Ortiz wept in court. “I have to believe I will see [my son] again. The only hope I have of seeing Wyatt again is to see God.”
A Metropolitan Police officer, who was romantically involved with Mitchell and witnessed the shooting, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and neglect of an officer to make an arrest last year.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office is below.
Maryland Man Sentenced to 26 Years in Prison For August 2011 Slaying in Northeast Washington -Defendant Chased Victim and Shot Him Numerous Times-
WASHINGTON – Ricardo Mitchell, 33, of Temple Hills, Md., was sentenced today to 26 years in prison on a charge of second-degree murder while armed in a slaying that took place in August 2011 in Northeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Mitchell pled guilty in April 2013 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to the murder charge as well as a charge of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. He was sentenced by the Honorable Lynn Leibovitz. Upon completion of his prison term, Mitchell is to be placed on five years of supervised release.
According to the government’s evidence, in the early evening of Aug. 21, 2011, Mitchell was outside a residence in the 3900 block of Clay Place NE when he exchanged words with the victim, Wyatt Earp Robinson. Mr. Robinson, 33, walked away. Mr. Robinson headed toward his vehicle, where his girlfriend and four-year-old child were waiting.
Mitchell then ran into the residence. He returned outside and ran from the front porch of the house with a gun in his hand and up the sidewalk, toward Minnesota Avenue, and after Mr. Robinson. He caught up with Mr. Robinson when the victim was approximately five feet from his vehicle. At that point, Mitchell confronted Mr. Robinson and shot him several times.
After shooting Mr. Robinson, who had nothing in his hands but his cellphone, the defendant began to walk away, but turned back toward the victim and fired another shot at him. A total of nine .40-caliber cartridge casings were found on the scene by police, and all were fired from the same firearm. An autopsy revealed nine gunshot wounds to Mr. Robinson’s body.
Following the shooting, Mitchell fled into and through the residence on Clay Street NE. He exited through the residence’s back door and fled the scene on a motorcycle.
After shooting and killing Mr. Robinson, Mitchell fled to a storage facility in Forestville, Md., where he hid the motorcycle that he used to flee the crime scene. The defendant is captured on surveillance footage from that storage facility wearing the same clothes that he was seen wearing at the time of the murder. Mitchell was arrested on Aug. 24, 2011.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of the detectives, officers and crime scene technicians who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Criminal Investigators Durand Odom and Zachary McMenamin, Victim/Witness Advocate Marcia Rinker, and Paralegal Specialists Mia Beamon, Kendra Johnson, Marian Russell and Phaylyn Hunt. Finally, he expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Reagan M. Taylor, Teresa Howie and Stephen J. Gripkey, who prosecuted the matter.