An Orleans Parish grand jury on Thursday charged Michael “Wild” Robinson with killing four people in three separate shootings last year in Algiers, including a murder witness who was slain days before he was supposed to testify at a trial.
Robinson, 35, faces charges of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Leroy Benn Jr., Gavonte Lampkin, Chantrell Parker and Reena Smith during a 10-week period beginning in mid-July, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office said.
The 14-count indictment handed up against Robinson also charges three other people with murder: Denzel West in Benn’s slaying; Kirk Powell in the killings of Lampkin and Parker; and a man identified only as “John Doe” in Smith’s killing.
All face mandatory life imprisonment if convicted on the murder charges.
The carnage began the afternoon of July 18, when Benn, 43, was killed in a double shooting that also wounded a member of his family on Vespasian Boulevard.
Then, on July 29, firefighters putting out a brush fire near Maumus Avenue and Bennett Street found the charred corpses of Lampkin, 20, and Parker, his 18-year-old girlfriend. Authorities later concluded that the couple had been shot dead and then burned in a grassy field.
Lampkin died after he had twice been targeted in shootings that authorities blamed on the same man. One of that man’s co-defendants in one of those cases was Parker’s father, and Lampkin was scheduled to testify at a trial days later centering on one of the attacks.
Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday revealed it had offered Lampkin help in relocating after he had witnessed a murder. But it said he refused and then cut off contact with the agency’s victim-witness assistance program before Lampkin’s death, which resulted in the dismissal of the two shooting cases.
Officials haven’t said which murder Lampkin witnessed or when it occurred.
Police found the body of the fourth victim, Smith, 38, in a roadside ditch in the early morning hours of Sept. 27. She had been shot to death.
Investigators arrested Robinson and Powell on Oct. 10 in the Lampkin and Parker murders, and they remain in custody in lieu of $1 million bail each. They had both been arrested a week earlier after police raided a home in Algiers and seized illicit drugs and money.
The rest of the defendants named in Thursday’s indictment remain at large. Their bail will be set after they are jailed, Cannizzaro’s office said.
In Benn’s killing, Robinson and West face counts of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and obstructing justice in a homicide case.
Robinson and Powell face counts of murder, obstruction of justice, conspiring to obstruct justice in a homicide case and conspiracy to commit murder in the slayings of Parker and Lampkin. In that case, West is also charged with obstruction of justice and conspiring to obstruct justice in a homicide case.
Terence Favorite, 31, and "John Doe" — whose identity was unknown to prosecutors Thursday — are charged with conspiring to obstruct justice.
Favorite shares a last name with Parker’s father, but Cannizzaro’s office didn’t say whether that defendant was related to the victim.
In Smith’s killing, Robinson and the “John Doe” defendant are charged with second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and obstructing justice in a homicide case.