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19-year-old sentenced to 30 years in prison for attempted murder and armed home invasion robbery

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Eric J. Robinson, Jr., 19, was sentenced on May 26 to 30 years, plus an additional 5 years, following a plea deal for six felonies.

Robinson was first arrested as an adult on June 18, 2021, for allegedly shooting at two victims on June 1, just over two weeks after turning 18. His bail was set at $150,000, but his attorney filed a motion asking to reduce it because Robinson is indigent. The motion was denied, but the attorney filed a second motion after 40 days had passed with no charges being filed, and Robinson was released on his own recognizance on August 6.

On August 23, 2021, the State Attorney filed three felony charges of shooting from a vehicle within 1000 feet of a person, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, and possession of a firearm by a delinquent for the June 1 incident. A jury found him guilty on April 26, 2022, on three charges from that case, and he was sentenced to 15 years in state prison.

On September 24, an officer responding to a call about a suspicious person reported that he saw Robinson and several other people standing in front of a house that had recently been involved in a drive-by shooting. The officer recognized Robinson and made contact with him; he reported that Robinson ran into the woods, and K-9 teams were unable to locate him. In that sworn complaint, the officer noted, “[Robinson] is a documented gang member who has past violent history.”

On October 21, a suspect identified as Robinson shot 5-7 times into an occupied car. On October 28, Robinson failed to appear in court on the June 1 charges. On November 2, Gainesville Police Department responded to a victim who had been shot in the chest, and that victim identified Robinson as the shooter.

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The victim told investigators that he had gone to Orlando that day to buy a new car. Before leaving, he had posted a picture of himself on social media while holding a large amount of cash. On the way back from Orlando, the victim said he had received Facebook messages from Robinson, who kept asking him for updates on his location.

The victim said that when he got home from Orlando, he saw a car outside his apartment with its lights on. The occupant of the car tapped the horn, and Robinson went over to see if they were trying to get his attention, but he couldn’t see anyone because of the tint on the windows, and he didn’t receive a response from any occupant of the car. He said he then went to his apartment, but it “looked liked it had been burglarized,” and a Playstation 5 and a spare key were missing. The victim said that he locked the door and began cleaning up, then he heard the door open and saw Robinson at the door, holding a gun and telling him to “give me everything you got!” The victim said that when he did not immediately comply, Robinson struck him in the head with the gun; the victim had a visible injury in that location when he spoke with detectives. The victim said he then tried to push Robinson out of the apartment and close the door, but Robinson reached around the door and shot the victim in the chest.

Detectives noted that after Robinson was arrested, he confirmed that he knew the victim but claimed to be in Trenton on the night of this shooting. The report says that Robinson’s cell phone records show that he was in the area of the victim’s apartment at the time of the November 2 incident.

While being interviewed by detectives after his arrest on November 5 on warrants for the October 21 incident and for failing to appear in court on October 28, Robinson asked for his phone to get some phone numbers from his contacts, then he allegedly threw it on the floor, smashing the screen in an attempt to destroy evidence. This resulted in a third-degree felony charge for attempting to destroy evidence.

The recent plea deal was for charges in the above cases, and the sentence will run concurrently with the 15-year sentence.

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