A Superior Court jury considers the fate of Robert Lee Miller III on Thursday after the prosecutor and defense attorneys wrapped up closing arguments on Wednesday in the three-day trial.
The jury of seven women and five men will return for deliberation at 8:30 a.m. on the 11th floor of Government Center in Judge Maureen Gottfried’s courtroom. They will consider eight charges against Miller, which include two counts of felony murder, three counts of aggravated assault and three counts of possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a crime in the April 21, 2012, shooting death of 19-year-old Antonio Deshawn Robinson. His car was riddled with at least five bullets at George Street and Brown Avenue.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew J. Landreau said the case was filled with inconsistent testimony that didn’t match the evidence. He recalled how the case reminded him of the prosecutor who experienced a “Community of Silence,” with some witnesses in an unrelated case.
“I’m here to tell you it has gotten worse,” he told the jury in closing arguments. “We have a Community of Brazen Defiance. They came in on the stand and they tell lies.”
Court testimony showed that Miller and Javonta Saquan Harris, who is indicted in the same shooting, went to Cream Club on 10th Avenue and stayed until it closed just before 2 a.m. In the parking lot, Harris argued with men in a Jeep Cherokee. As the Cherokee left, Harris allegedly got behind the wheel of Miller’s Kia Sorento and followed the SUV to the Majestic Sports Bar at Cusseta and Andrews roads.
After exchanging more words from the two vehicles, the driver of the Cherokee traveled north on Brown Avenue as the Kia driven by Harris pulled near the vehicle. At least five shots were fired from two guns. A .380-caliber bullet struck Robinson in the head.
Harris signed a statement that he fired the fatal shot. Landreau said if Harris is shooting with his left hand while driving the Kia, that is not reasonable.
“It’s just not possible,” he told the jury.
Landreau said he knew the statement from Harris was a lie.
“It was an opening salvo for these people to come in and lie on be half of Mr. Miller,” he said.
In his arguments, defense attorney Michael Reynolds pointed to Harris, who admitted to the shooting and forensic evidence of two people firing guns.
Reynolds said there were grave suspicions going on that night.
“Miller lied and that affects his credibility,” he said.
Police served a search warrant at Miller’s parents house a week after the shooting. They said they found an ammunition box with a bullet in his bedroom.
“If Robert is involved, you throw this out but he leaves it in there,” he said.
Reynolds said Miller wasn’t guilty because Harris confessed to shooting.
“We know who killed him,” he said of Robinson. “He is not guilty because of the evidence.”
Miller, 22, was the last witness to testify in his own behalf on Wednesday. He said Harris was driving his car that night when Harris talked about shooting in the Club Cream parking lot. Harris followed the Cherokee to the Majestic Sports Bar.
On the stand, Miller said he told Harris to stop the car when he pursued the Cherokee on Brown Avenue.
“I got out on the bridge area,” he said.
Miller said he walked on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard east to his friend’s apartment off Buena Vista Road. He was there until daylight.
Landreau said police were dispatched to the shooting on George Street at 2:03 a.m. If Miller left his car, he said it was impossible for him to get to his friend’s apartment in 10 to 15 minutes.
“In three to four minutes, this whole thing was done,” he said.
Montavious Lawrence, one of the passengers who wasn’t hit in the Cherokee, said he saw Miller in the car.
“Five minutes after meeting the man, this is what happened,” Landreau said of Miller. “He felt disrespected. I’m not going to tell you to send a message. It’s clearly a message they are not going to get.”