Conviction in Detroit Slaying of Trans Woman, Two Gay Men

Devon Kareem Robinson, 19, was found guilty of shooting and killing a transgender woman and a pair of gay men last year.
Detroit Police Department

A Detroit man who fatally shot a transgender woman and a pair of gay men at a party in that city last year has been found guilty of murder and other charges, according to the Detroit News.

A jury in the Wayne County Circut Court on March 17 found Devon Kareem Robinson, 19, guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, assault with intent to murder, and felony possession of a firearm in connection with the deaths of 20-year-old Paris Cameron, a transgender woman, and 21-year-old Alunte Davis and 20-year-old Timothy Blancher, both gay men.

According to the Detroit News, police and the prosecutors believed that Robinson targeted the trio due to their sexual orientation. There is no mention of whether Robinson targeted Cameron due to her gender identity, though it is, of course, possible that sexual orientation in this instance was used to refer to both sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite officials’ view that the victims were targeted and Michigan hate crime law that includes protections based on both sexual orientation and gender — though not specifically gender identity — Robinson did not face hate crime enhancements to the charges against him.

According to a November Detroit News story about the incident, the May 25 shooting occurred following a party of about 15 people. Hours before the shooting, witness Clifton Keys and his friends, including Cameron, met Robinson at a nearby gas station — an encounter confirmed by video surveillance footage. Keys explained that Cameron was attracted to Robsinon and invited him to the party.

Robinson proceeded to walk to the house where the party was taking place, but later left with a “blank” face after he was “hugged up” with Cameron, according to Keys’ testimony. Robinson later returned to the house where the party was taking place donning a black ski mask and black ski cap and sprayed at least 20 bullets into the attendees, according to witnesses, killing Davis, Blancher, and Cameron. Two others were also shot and wounded.

Armon Matthews, who was in the home at the time of the shooting and managed to flee to the basement, said in court, “It was just crazy … shocking. We didn’t see it coming.”

Robinson is scheduled to be sentenced on April 13 and is facing up to life in prison without parole.

The Human Rights Campaign has so far tallied at least three other transgender or gender non-binary people who have been killed by violent means this year. Neulisa Luciano Ruiz and Yampi Méndez Arocho were both murdered in Puerto Rico, while Dustin Parker was killed in Oklahoma.

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