PORT ALLEN — A former LSU football tight end for the Tigers 2003 national championship team was sentenced to 50 years in prison Thursday for his role in shooting up a Port Allen truck stop casino more than three years ago.
Demetri Robinson, 32, 5223 Sand Drive, Port Allen, pleaded guilty Aug. 18 to three counts of attempted second-degree murder in the Sept. 18, 2011, shooting at the Cajun Circus Casino on U.S. 190.
Robinson shot a cashier then fired shots at two other employees after he was asked to leave the casino on U.S. 190. Robinson entered the plea one day before he was to stand trial.
Eighteenth Judicial District Judge J. Robin Free handed down the sentence Thursday after Robinson, in a prison jumpsuit and shackles, spoke at length from the jury box about the incident and his intentions behind it.
Fifty years is the maximum sentence for attempted second-degree murder, but Free set each count to be served concurrently.
Robinson’s defense attorney, Allen Myles, had asked for a more lenient sentence while Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton had asked for the maximum possible sentence.
Before the sentence, Jeff Scales, 49, who works at the truck stop, told the court that when he saw Robinson trying to shoot at him inside the store, he thought about what would happen to his wife and child when he was gone.
“My world is never going to be the same,” Scales said, adding others associated with incident will never be the same either.
Scales said he has had to seek counseling and his daughter, for a time, was tearing up when he tried to go back to work because she didn’t know what would happen to him.
Detectives said Robinson had previously been banned from the casino for making a lewd sexual comment to a truck stop employee.
When he showed up the night of Sept. 18, 2011, Robinson became hostile and started shooting after the cashier reminded him he was no longer allowed at the truck stop, authorities have said.
He shot the cashier in the head from point-blank range, but it was a grazing shot. The woman, whose name was never released by authorities, survived the shooting. Robinson, who fled but was later arrested, originally was booked with attempted first-degree murder.
Robinson on Thursday acknowledged to the judge he shot the cashier but claimed he did it out of frustration for being banned from the store. He added he had not intended to shoot Scales because he was behind tinted glass windows inside the truck stop and did not see him.
Judge Free finally had enough from Robinson, telling him what he heard was that it was everyone else’s fault but his.
Then he pointed out that he also watched Robinson when Scales gave his statement.
“You were smiling,” Free said.
He promptly handed down the 50-year sentences.
Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.