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Feds File Hate Crime Charge Against Kansas City Man Who Allegedly Shot Victim Nine Times

Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Before he was indicted on federal charges, Malachi N. Robinson was indicted by a Jackson County grand jury.

Malachi N. Robinson was also indicted two years ago by a Jackson County grand jury in connection with the same shooting.

A 25-year-old man accused of a federal hate crime allegedly shot his teenaged victim nine times, including three times in the chest, court records show.

A federal grand jury in Kansas City charged Malachi N. Robinson with a hate crime for allegedly shooting the victim because of his sexual orientation. It also charged him with firearm violations.

Robinson could face up to life in prison if he’s convicted of the hate crime. The firearm violations carry up to 10 years in prison. He also faces fines of up to $250,000 on each charge.

The two-page federal indictment provides few details about the circumstances of the shooting. But Robinson was indicted in connection with the same shooting two years ago by a Jackson County grand jury. In that case, he was charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action.

Arranged meeting

According to a probable cause statement filed in that case by Kansas City police detective Dawn Phipps, police were dispatched on May 29, 2019, to 3709 Meyer Blvd., where they found the victim suffering from life-threatening injuries due to gunshot wounds.

The victim told police he met Robinson that day at the library located at 6242 Swope Parkway after contacting him via Facebook messenger and offering him money in exchange for a sexual favor. The two left the library and went for a walk. After Robinson went into some bushes and the victim followed him, Robinson allegedly shot him.

The victim sustained nine gunshot wounds altogether, according to the probable cause statement, including three to his chest, three to his right arm, one to his buttocks and one to a finger that “caused it to nearly detach.” The victim somehow survived.

Police said that Robinson’s girlfriend later told them that Robinson called her after the shooting and admitted he shot the victim.

Robinson has failed to post bond, and has been in jail since shortly after the shooting. A trial date in Jackson County has yet to be set, although it’s not clear if the case will go forward in light of the federal charges.

Mike Mansur, a spokesman for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office, said it’s likely the state charges will be dismissed once state prosecutors get word that Robinson is in federal custody.

“We’ve been working closely with the feds on this, so everything’s in concert,” Mansur said. “But I would expect that they would get the first shot, so to speak, at the defendant.”

Robinson’s attorney with the public defender’s office declined to comment.

Hate crime investigation

Federal law enforcement authorities have been investigating the case as a hate crime at least since February 2020, when they sent a so-called target letter to Robinson, according to federal court records. A target letter is a formal notice that an individual is the subject of a federal investigation.

It’s not clear why it took this long for a federal indictment to be returned.

The case is being handled by the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City. Neither could be reached for comment.

The Justice Department defines a hate crime as “a violent act motivated by bias towards a person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.”

The last time it brought hate crime charges against a local individual was in November 2020, when Colton Ray Donner was accused of brandishing a knife and shouting racial slurs at an African American juvenile living in Paola, Kansas.

Donnor is in detention awaiting trial.

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
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