Man charged in weekend murder, robbery at Gresham apartment building

Jamari Robinson was arrested 13 hours after he allegedly killed Rashaun Johnson early Sunday in the entryway of the complex in the 7800 block of South Laflin Street.

SHARE Man charged in weekend murder, robbery at Gresham apartment building
A man was found with a fatal gunshot wound early Saturday in the Lawndale neighborhood.

Sun-Times file

A 28-year-old pot dealer allegedly told Chicago police detectives he didn’t know a man found shot to death early Sunday on the doorstep of his apartment building.

But when investigators placed a call to the last number the victim had contacted, they immediately heard a phone ring inside the dealer’s pocket, Cook County prosecutors said in court Wednesday.

What’s more, officials said after Jamari Robinson was arrested in the murder of 21-year-old Rashaun Johnson, an uncle who lives with Robinson told police that he heard the front door to the apartment close and gunshots soon after about the time Johnson was shot, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

After hearing the front door close again, the uncle allegedly saw Robinson inside the home and noticed blood on his arm. Robinson told his uncle that someone had tried to rob him and shot at him, Murphy said.

Investigators also found text messages on Johnson’s phone, including one that Johnson sent to Robinson that read “I’m at the front door” just before Johnson was killed, Murphy said.

Johnson suffered nine gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, in the 7800 block of South Laflin Street, Murphy said.

Jamari Robinson

Jamari Robinson

Chicago police

When Johnson didn’t return home, his family went to Robinson’s apartment looking for him and later gave police a description the man Johnson was going to buy weed from, which matched Robinson, Murphy said. About the same time, a neighbor saw Johnson lying face down just outside the exterior door of the apartment building and called police, Murphy said.

Johnson had peanuts and a credit card in his pocket when he was found dead, but was missing other personal items, including his phone, keys and cash, Murphy said.

Marijuana and cash were found inside Robinson’s home when it was searched by police, including a bill with blood on it, which was awaiting testing by the Illinois State Police crime lab for testing, Murphy said.

Robinson first spoke to detectives shortly after the shooting, but claimed he hadn’t heard or seen anything, Murphy said. When detectives returned later that afternoon, Robinson allegedly admitted he had heard the gunshots, but said he didn’t know Johnson.

Detectives then called a phone number provided by Johnson’s family as the last outgoing number the victim contacted, and Robinson’s phone rang, Murphy said.

Robinson was subsequently charged with counts of first-degree murder, felony murder and robbery, Murphy said.

Robinson lives with his great-uncle and works as his caretaker, as well as a freelance computer tech doing web design, an assistant public defender Richard Paull said.

The defense attorney suggested that Robinson could potentially pursue a self-defense case and noted that prosecutors didn’t say if any of Johnson’s missing items were located in Robinson’s possession.

Robinson was denied bail. He was expected back on in court June 13.

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