JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The man accused of shooting and killing a Jacksonville cab driver in a case that happened almost a year ago was found guilty Thursday shortly after the prosecution and defense rested.
Before jurors sealed his fate, 24-year-old Rohbanni Wilson walked into a Duval County courtroom appearing calm, cool and collected after being charged with murder in the death of 43-year-old Stuart Carson, the cab driver officials said Wilson killed.
"Stuart Carson, doing his job, was killed by the last fare that he ever picked up," the prosecutor in the case said.
For Carson's family, this last day in court and the final verdict for Wilson, brought the closure and relief they had desperately hoped for.
"Just extreme relief. My brother finally got justice and maybe now it can give our family a little bit of closure. It won't bring him back, but it does give him justice, and us some closure," Lori Gilkinson, Carson's sister, said.
Carson was a father of four and a grandfather of one and though his children weren't in the courtroom because of school, Carson's wife, Kelly Carson, was there to hear the verdict, remembering the husband she lost.
"He was funny. He was a good person. He loved his babies and he loved me," Carson.
Closing arguments from the prosecution focused on DNA found in Carson's pocket that matched Wilson. They claim Wilson shot and killed Carson, then reached into his left pants pocket to take the cash Carson had collected from fares. Prosecutors also said a gun matching the one used to shoot and kill Carson was found in the apartment where Wilson lived. It had been disassembled and hidden inside an oven mitt. Wilson's cellphone was also found disassembled in the apartment.
Prosecutors also said that in the days after the murder, Wilson tried to cover his tracks and told a friend to lie for him and provide him with an alibi.
Wilson's defense lawyers argued Thursday that his DNA was in Carson's pocket because he paid for the cab ride in cash. They also said several people live in the apartment where the gun was found.
But the prosecution said that after killing Carson, Wilson pulled the cash from Carson's pants pocket, leaving behind traces of DNA, the chances of it belonging to anyone else they said was about one in 2,100.
Wilson testified Wednesday in his own defense, saying he took a cab ride with Carson but that once they got to West 27th Street, Carson asked Wilson if he could buy some drugs. Wilson testified that that's when his roommate came outside, and Wilson went upstairs. He said the roommate is responsible for Carson's death.
Wednesday morning, jurors heard testimony from detectives who processed the scene after Carson's body was found in his cab.
One juror was sent home due to a personal issue but it's unclear if it had anything to do with the trial.
Along with testimony Wednesday, pieces of evidence and crime scene photos, some of which were very graphic, were also shown.
Man accused of killing cab driver
Police in Jacksonville have arrested a man in the killing of a cab driver on the Northside earlier this month.
Wilson is charged with murder in the shooting death of 43-year-old Stuart Carson.
Carson was sitting in his Gator City Taxi cab on West 27th Street at about 7:45 a.m. June 7 when he was shot and killed.
Police said Wilson became a person of interest, and through evidence obtained from a search warrant and from witnesses, he was identified as a suspect.
Wilson was located by the U.S. Marshals Service on Wednesday in the 1200 block of Mayport Landing Circle in Atlantic Beach. Wilson lived in an apartment one block away from where Carson was killed.
On the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's sex offender database, which lists Wilson on a 2010 conviction of lewd and lascivious battery on a child, shows his last registered address was on Mayport Landing Drive.
SEX OFFENDER DATABASE: Rohbanni Wilson
Investigators said they did not know the motive for the killing.
They said this killing of Carson was not related to the stabbing and robbery of another cab driver in the Moncrief area three days later.
"I'm being a little vague with you guys and there's a reason for it," said Chief Adam Brown, of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. "Even though we have charged the suspect with the one count of murder, the investigation is continuing and is still active. We're getting more information in reference to the case, so I cant really go into detail about how we found him or what led up to it. But we have physical evidence, we executed a search warrant where we obtained more evidence, and we also have witness testimony."
Carson's family said they are relieved to know an arrest has been made, but they are still coping with their loved one's death.
"Horrible. Up until yesterday, we finally got a chance to be excited about something and happy about something," Kelly Redington, Carson's wife, said of the arrest.
Wilson made his first appearance in court Thursday morning and was ordered held without bail. His next court date is July 10.
Carson's family showed up at Wilson's first appearance.
"As soon as I walked in, he looked right at me and I gave him a dirty look, and I didn't know if that was him but," Redington said.
Kelly Redington Carson described that moment when she saw Rohbanni Wilson in court Thursday morning, the man charged with shooting and killing her husband, Stuart, nearly two weeks ago. Carson told Channel 4 that she was not prepared to hear that Wilson was a Sex Offender.
"Me, my sister, and my cousin all looked up his name on Google and we found him," explained Kayla Carson. "We started reading that, we thought, oh my god, so we ran out and told my mom, my aunt, and everyone."
Records show Wilson was arrested in 2010 for having sex with a person older than 12, but younger than 16. Wilson was also arrested for petty theft in 2010. In 2011 he was arrested and charged with violating his probation and later that year he was charged for failing to report his name or residence change as a sex offender and resisting arrest.
Wilson is now being held without bond inside the Duval County jail. Carson's family said although they're relieved but, moving forward is still hard without Carson.
"I have to figure out where to go, how to do it without their daddy here. At least he's in jail," said Kayla Carson.
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