Three-year-old Lyvia Robinson was “the sweetest thing ever, little, cute ... Everything you could ever want in a child,” her cousin Latoya told WHNT.
But Lyvia’s brief life was cut short on March 7 when bullets from a drive-by shooting struck her down as she was standing in the doorway of her Huntsville, Alabama, home.
Now three people have been charged with capital murder in her death – and police say it all began with a Facebook joke.
An investigator testified in court that 26-year-old Martin Evenes made a joke on Facebook that his new girlfriend, 27-year-old Brittany Kingston, had assaulted him, AL.com reported. That post sparked an argument between Kingston and Evenes’ ex-girlfriend Ashley Brown, which then grew to include the little girl’s mother, who was Brown’s friend, and Evenes himself, the news site reported.
The argument, police say, ended when Evenes, Kingston, and another man named Dominique Russell drove by the Robinson house and opened fire, WAAY reported.
Police originally said Lyvia was asleep on the couch, but in court they said she had actually been standing near the front door with her mother when a bullet fatally hit the child, AL.com reported.
Police arrested Evenes, Kingston and Russell a short time later. An investigator testified that Evenes admitted to the crime in a police interview, though he said he was not aiming for anyone in particular and did not know or think he had hit the child, WHNT reported.
Police said Russell was the owner of the gun allegedly used in the shooting, and he only admitted to having the gun when police told him a child had been killed with it, according to the station.
Kingston allegedly rode in the back seat of the car, AL.com reported.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle released a statement calling the death a “senseless shooting evolving from an argument among reckless adults. No matter the root cause, this is criminal behavior, which we will not tolerate in Huntsville.” Other city leaders made their own statements of shock and disbelief.
“This case in particular breaks the heart of everybody that’s involved,” Lt. Michael Johnson, spokesman for the Huntsville Police Department, told WAFF. A GoFundMe page to cover burial costs raised more than $7,500.
The case will go before a grand jury.