Gay Man's Killing Gets Manslaughter Verdict, Not Murder
A New York City jury found Davawn Robinson guilty of second degree manslaughter in the killing of Edgard Mercado, after only a day of deliberation, instead of second degree murder which the prosecution was seeking. This was the second trial for 25-year-old Robinson who, according to Gay City News, claimed that he had consensual sex with Mercado, 39, after meeting at a Christopher Street gay bar in 2009, and a terrible tragedy occured.
Robinson testified that Mercado and he had been drinking and using cocaine and having sex when Mercado asked Robinson to choke him as part of their sex play. That erotic asphyxation led to Mercado's death, he claims.
Prosecutors brought in witnesses, including deputy chief medical examiner Dr. Jason Graham, who, according to Gay City News, rebutted that version of events. Graham said that the numerous bruises, hemorrages, petichia, fractures, abrasions, and scrapes to his upper body were “not consistent with consensual sexual practice.”
In addition, police found no bondage or porn equipment at Mercado's home and the only rope — the one used to strangle him — belonged to his Brazilian dance uniform. Robinson took Mercado's phone and computer, called 911 and said he had acted in self-defense, and fled the scene. His first trial in 2011 ended up in mistrial after jurors could not agree on a verdict, telling reporters that the defendant was "not believable" but they didn't know how to interpret the "sexual environment" surrounding the death.
Yesterday's jury verdict was one of three options the jurors could have found (Robinson's attorneys hoped for an even lesser charge, criminally negligent homicide). Robinson now faces up to 15 years in prison.