Attorney: Jacksonville rapper accused in murder doesn’t fit description of shooter seen in video

Hakeem Robinson, known as rapper Ksoo, in jail accused in 2 separate murder cases

Hakeem Robinson, known as Jacksonville rapper Ksoo. (Screenshot via YouTube)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An attorney representing accused murder suspect Hakeem Robinson — also known as Jacksonville rapper Ksoo — took to social media last week to claim that a suspect seen in dashcam video running away from an ambush murder in Arlington last year couldn’t be his client because the suspect is too small.

Robinson has been charged with second-degree murder in the 2020 shooting death of Charles McCormick Jr. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, an officer witnessed the shooting outside at a shopping center on Merrill Road that January.

The off-duty officer, one of several people who witnessed the shooting, chased a car with suspects inside — which police said was reported stolen the year before — until it crashed on Townsend Boulevard, several blocks south of the shopping center. Police said three suspects got out and took off. Surveillance video from a neighbor shows two men running and jumping over a fence near a child’s playset. A third suspect, described as a “Black male carrying a rifle” ran off and was not immediately captured, according to JSO.

‘Children’s book’ challenges case

Miami-based attorney Christopher DeCoste on Friday posted a series of images on Instagram, which he called a children’s book, under the title “JSO and the Wrongful Prosecution of Ksoo” proclaiming Robinson’s innocence.

Instagram post from Christopher DeCoste, a Miami-based attorney representing Hakeem Robinson. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

“Jacksonville law enforcement can’t understand that Ksoo is innocent. To help them understand, we put some of the important facts into one of the most understandable mediums, a children’s book. The actual book is being mailed to them. Free Ksoo!!!” he wrote on Instagram.

In the post, which DeCoste said is “suitable for anyone with common sense,” DeCoste said an eyewitness described the shooter as “thin” and around 5-foot-10. An officer who witnessed the shooting also said the shooter was “slender” and no taller than 5-foot-8, according to DeCoste.

The attorney notes that his client is much bigger. An arrest report from September of last year said Robinson was 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds.

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The post also shows a screenshot from the dashcam video evidence captured the day of the murder where a suspect, who JSO described as the suspect who chased and gunned down McCormick, can be seen carrying a rifle.

“He physically cannot be the shooter,” DeCoste wrote. “In no way do we discount the pain caused to those that loved the man that was murdered. But people also love Ksoo, and his life is in jeopardy because of egos and politics, not reliable evidence.”

DeCoste and co-counsel Tara Kawass issued a statement to News4JAX to elaborate on the post:

“The book isn’t meant to mock the case or court system. Instead, it draws attention to law enforcement’s disregard of the obvious fact that Hakeem Robinson cannot physically be the shooter. We’ve been saying this to law enforcement since day one but it’s falling on deaf ears because they want him to be guilty. Next, if Hakeem can’t physically be the shooter, then the snitch holding the first case together is lying. This same unreliable snitch is the only piece of evidence in the second case, which was only filed to frustrate Hakeem’s release after we won bond on the first case. Simply put, with the snitch lying in the first case he shouldn’t be trusted for the second case. Meanwhile Hakeem—an innocent young man with no prior felony convictions—is behind bars being violently mistreated.”

Post from Hakeem Robinson's attorney on Instagram. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

According to an arrest warrant, Robinson was arrested in connection with the murder after investigators used a confidential informant inside the pre-trial detention facility to record a conversation with Dominique Barner, the man who DeCoste called a “snitch” in his statement to News4JAX. Barner is also accused of second-degree murder in the death of McCormick.

Barner told the informant he and others waited until McCormick left his house and followed him to a shopping center on Merrill Road. He also described the subsequent police chase after the shooting, according to investigators.

In an interview with investigators, Barner acknowledged he was driving the car that was involved in the murder of McCormick, according to an arrest warrant. He told investigators he was with Robinson and Leroy Whitaker — who was also eventually charged with second-degree murder — when they tracked down McCormick.

According to Barner, the reason Robinson wanted to kill McCormick was because he made a song which “talked [disparagingly] about Willie Addison.” Addison, also known as “Boss Goon,” was an aspiring rapper when he was killed leaving a concert in 2019 and also Robinson’s half-brother.

Barner told police that when McCormick came out of the business, Robinson jumped out of the rear passenger seat, chased McCormick down and shot him with an AR pistol, the warrant states.

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What’s Next?

Robinson is currently in jail being held on a $1 million bond and charged with second-degree murder in McCormick’s death.

Robinson’s father and brother — Abdul Robinson Sr. and Abdul Robinson Jr. — are also accused in connection to McCormick’s death.

Hakeem Robinson is also charged in the February 2019 murder of 16-year-old Adrian Gainer Jr. at the Hilltop Village Apartments in Northwest Jacksonville. In that case, his bond was set at $3 million.

News4JAX asked the State Attorney’s Office about DeCoste’s statements and other questions surrounding the McCormick case but it did not immediately respond.

Hakeem Robinson has pleaded not guilty and his next court appearance is set for Feb. 2022.

About the Author:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.