Feds allege robbery by Baltimore police sergeant led to murder

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Federal prosecutors say the theft of $10,000 in cash, allegedly pocketed by a veteran police

To his family, Davon Robinson was simply “Wooda,” an attentive young father with a taste for wacky socks and his grandmother’s macaroni and cheese. To Baltimore police, he was a suspected drug dealer, one whose criminal charges were dropped again and again.

Robinson griped often, his family said, about shakedowns by police. But it was the theft of $10,000 in cash, allegedly pocketed by a veteran police sergeant, that federal prosecutors say led to Robinson’s killing last year. They say he couldn’t repay a drug debt afterward.

A state murder trial begins Thursday against Antwon Frasier, a 27-year-old from Reisterstown charged with killing Robinson over the money.

Frasier’s defense attorney, Tony Garcia, said he was unaware federal prosecutors had linked the killing to an alleged police theft.

“Nobody has disclosed that to us,” Garcia said.

feds-allege-robbery-by-baltimore-police-sergeant-led-to-murder photo 1 Kevin Rector, Tim Prudente and Justin Fenton

An eighth Baltimore police officer was arrested on federal racketeering charges on Wednesday in the growing scandal that has engulfed the department’s elite gun task force.

Federal prosecutors allege that the officer, a former leader of the unit, “stole money from victims, some of whom had not...

An eighth Baltimore police officer was arrested on federal racketeering charges on Wednesday in the growing scandal that has engulfed the department’s elite gun task force.

Federal prosecutors allege that the officer, a former leader of the unit, “stole money from victims, some of whom had not...

(Kevin Rector, Tim Prudente and Justin Fenton)

Baltimore prosecutors and police provided an account of Robinson’s killing, alleging Frasier had confronted him over a debt. But federal prosecutors connected the murder to the alleged police theft in the indictment of Baltimore Police Sgt. Thomas Allers, a veteran of the force for two decades from Anne Arundel County. The 49-year-old sergeant led an elite unit deployed to interrupt the city’s illegal gun trade.

Allers was arrested and charged last month, becoming the eighth officer indicted in a growing scandal that has consumed the gun unit. Its officers are accused of carrying out a campaign of robbery and extortion stretching back at least three years and often targeting suspected drug dealers. Over the years the eight officers pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars they uncovered while searching homes, federal prosecutors wrote.

“Here is some lunch money,” Allers said as he handed cash to an officer last year, according to the federal indictment. During another search, he allegedly took a bundle of bills from a cash-packed drawer, saying the owner “wouldn’t miss a stack.”

“Allers released detainees and chose not to charge them criminally when he stole cash from them,” federal prosecutors wrote.

Sgt. Wayne Jenkins was also indicted on federal racketeering charges, as well as six Baltimore detectives: Momodu Gondo, Daniel Hersl, Evodio Hendrix, Marcus Taylor, Maurice Ward and Jemell Rayam. Hendrix and Ward have pleaded guilty; the rest pleaded not guilty. The trials could begin in January.

Robinson’s killing, however, reveals the possible consequences of the alleged police thefts, which played out on Baltimore streets long after the officers drove away.

The events that led to the killing began on the night of April 28, 2016, federal prosecutors wrote. Allers and three detectives — all of whom have been indicted in the racketeering case — were watching a townhouse in Northeast Baltimore where Robinson, 31, lived with his girlfriend and their two young daughters. Rayam, one of the indicted detectives, wrote his account of the night in a police report.

The gun unit knew Robinson had a revoked driver’s license, Rayam wrote, and they watched him leave home, driving off in his 2008 Infiniti G35. They stopped him down the road, cited him, then went back to his house and knocked on the door. Inside, Lekyla Whitaker allowed them to search the couple’s home, Rayam wrote. The couple’s two daughters sat in the living room.

In an upstairs bedroom, police found a loaded Ruger 9 mm handgun with the serial number removed, Rayam wrote. They found another loaded handgun in a drawer, he wrote, and a box of ammunition. They arrested Robinson on gun charges. Rayam’s report mentions no cash. And yet, federal prosecutors allege Allers walked away with $10,000 from the home. They accused the officers of lying on police reports to conceal stolen cash.

For Robinson, the sequence resumed about two months later in July. Court records say he appeared in a Baltimore courtroom and listened as a judge stated the gun charges against him from the night of his arrest. After he was released on bail, he drove his Infiniti to his grandmother’s house in West Baltimore, where he was raised as a boy.

Robinson stopped outside the house shortly after 3 p.m., when the hooded gunman approached, according to police. The killer fired through the car window, shooting Robinson in his head and chest. The pop of gunfire startled families along the block. Then the killer ran away. A witnesses told officers Frasier had confronted Robinson over a debt, police said.

Allers’ attorney declined to comment. Robinson’s family said they have hired an attorney.

Frasier was charged with murder, and with committing a violent crime in front of a child. Robinson’s 4-year-old daughter was allegedly there when her father was killed.

feds-allege-robbery-by-baltimore-police-sergeant-led-to-murder photo 2 CAPTION

Justin Fenton reports that every officer who has worked in recent years on the gun trace task force faces federal racketeering charges except, Detective John Clewell. His attorney says he did not participate in the alleged crimes. (Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Sun)

Justin Fenton reports that every officer who has worked in recent years on the gun trace task force faces federal racketeering charges except, Detective John Clewell. His attorney says he did not participate in the alleged crimes. (Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Sun)

feds-allege-robbery-by-baltimore-police-sergeant-led-to-murder photo 3 CAPTION

Baltimore Police is asking the community for help in locating a suspect in the weekend murder that occurred in the 4200 block of Nicholas Avenue. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)

Baltimore Police is asking the community for help in locating a suspect in the weekend murder that occurred in the 4200 block of Nicholas Avenue. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)

tprudente@baltsun.com

twitter.com/Tim_Prudente

Feds allege robbery by Baltimore police sergeant led to murder

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Article Feds allege robbery by Baltimore police sergeant led to murder compiled by www.baltimoresun.com

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