The Washington Post

Sister, brother sentenced in ’09 green-card murder

The Capitol Heights woman who authorities said orchestrated a Northeast Washington pizza shop owner’s 2009 murder after he stopped paying her to be his brother’s wife in a green card scam was sentenced to 54 years in prison Friday.

D.C. Superior Court Judge William M. Jackson, who presided over the summer trial in which a jury found Shanika Robinson, 28, guilty of second-degree murder and other charges, agreed with prosecutors that Robinson planned the slaying of Shahabuddin Rana, 44, for “revenge and rent money.”

Because Robinson was not found guilty of first-degree murder, Jackson said, he could not sentence her to life in prison as prosecutors and Rana’s family hoped. Based on sentencing guidelines, Robinson must serve about 50 years before she is eligible for release.

Jackson also sentenced Robinson’s brother, Leon Robinson, 27, to nearly 76 years in prison Friday for first-degree, premeditated murder in Rana’s death. Shanika Robinson’s boyfriend, Isiah Genus, 28, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case and is scheduled to be sentenced in November.

According to homicide detectives and prosecutors, Robinson became infuriated when Rana stopped paying her the weekly $500 he promised in exchange for marrying his younger brother, a Pakistani national.

Fueled by revenge and anger, prosecutors said, Robinson sought the help of her boyfriend and her brother in hopes of frightening Rana into continuing the payments. Prosecutors said the two men would not have been involved in the murder but for their desire to seek favor with Robinson.

About 4 a.m. Aug. 18, 2009, prosecutors said, the three drove to the Pizza Mart in the 2300 block of Fourth Street NE, where Rana worked the overnight shift. Robinson persuaded Rana to let her in through the front door while the two men hid. As Rana opened the door, the men pushed their way inside.

Genus repeatedly stabbed Rana as Leon Robinson wielded a hammer, prosecutors said. While the men were attacking Rana, Shanika Robinson was in another part of the store grabbing about $2,000 in cash and cigarettes. Before the three fled, they tried to set Rana’s body on fire, prosecutors said.

When the three returned to Robinson’s home, prosecutors said, they burned their bloody clothes in a backyard grill; Robinson used bleach to wash out the car they drove to the pizzeria.

At times during Friday’s sentencing, Robinson, who turns 29 Monday, wiped away tears. She also apologized to Rana’s family and her own. “I always wanted to be famous for writing books and plays, not facing life in prison,” she said.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.


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