A 25-year-old man in Missouri was sentenced on Thursday to nearly 22 years in prison without the possibility of parole for shooting a 16-year-old boy because the teen was gay.
Malachi Robinson pleaded guilty in July of last year to luring and shooting a youth identified only as M.S. in court documents eight times in Kansas City in May of 2019.
Robinson admitted he lured the youth to a secluded wooded area with the intent of shooting him because of his sexual orientation. U.S. District Court Judge Brian C. Wimes sentenced Robinson, who has been in federal custody since he was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 10, 2021, to 262 months in federal prison without parole for violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
“This significant penalty brings a measure of justice to the young victim and to the larger LGBTQI+ community,” U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore for the Western District of Missouri said in a statement. “To ambush and shoot an unwitting victim, who posed no threat to him, for no other reason than his sexual orientation is reprehensible behavior that won’t be tolerated. Our entire community must stand together against acts of violence motivated by hatred for any group of people.”
The pair first met by chance outside the Kansas City Public Library on May 29, 2019, and then continued to communicate online via Facebook. They met again at the library and walked around the Swoop Park area. Surveillance footage from the library showed M.S. walking across the street and away from Robinson before Robinson quickly followed him.
According to court documents, Robinson then suggested the pair go into nearby woods to engage in a sex act. Around this time Robinson texted his girlfriend saying he “might shoot this boy” because he was gay. Once in the woods, M.S. changed his mind and attempted to walk away. Robinson then repeatedly shot the youth with a Taurus 9mm pistol. M.S. was able to stagger to the sidewalk and crawl to a nearby apartment building where he lay before a witness called the police. He was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
While M.S. survived, he still has multiple bullets in his body and has “since suffered long-term effects of the shooting.” He has undergone multiple surgeries since he was attacked.
“To target an individual, lure them, and shoot them multiple times for no other reason than their perceived sexual orientation is reprehensible,” Special Agent in Charge Charles Dayoub of the FBI Kansas City Field Office said. “The sentence imposed today reflects the severity of the crime committed against the victim and the entire LGBTQI+ community. Every individual has the right to live without fear of being attacked or harassed, regardless of their sexual orientation.”