Two men charged with murder after a shoot-out that killed a Hilton Head Island boy told investigators they could see children playing in the neighborhood when they fired at each other, 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone said Monday.
Stone was arguing before Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullen that one of them, Tyrone Robinson, 37, should be denied bond on charges of murdering 8-year-old Khalil Singleton, who was shot and killed while playing Sept. 1 in his grandmother's yard on Allen Road on Hilton Head Island.
The other man charged with Khalil's death, Aaron Scott Young Jr., remains in the Beaufort County Detention Center. His father, Aaron Scott Young Sr., has been charged with discharging a firearm into a vehicle and conspiracy to murder Robinson. They await bond hearings originally set for Monday but delayed because of scheduling conflicts, according to Solicitor's Office spokesman Daniel Brownstein.
Their hearings have not yet been rescheduled.
Robinson had a series of altercations with the Youngs that day, before the fatal gun battle that unfolded as Khalil played outside with neighborhood children, Stone said. The Sheriff's Office has said the confrontations stemmed from a "drug-related feud."
The bullet that killed Khalil was fired by Robinson from a gun authorities have not yet found, Stone said.
Given a chance to speak, Robinson said he knew he wouldn't be granted bond. He requested only that the judge tell the Beaufort County Detention Center that he had chosen to represent himself so he could access a law library.
Mullen advised Robinson against representing himself and encouraged him to accept a court-appointed public defender. She called him a "danger to society" and a flight risk and ordered him back into custody until his trial is scheduled.
'RUNNING GUN BATTLE'
During Monday's hearing, Stone pointed to a map of Hilton Head Island and described how Robinson went to the Youngs' home on Wild Horse Road earlier in the day, bringing a gun with him. As he struggled with Young Jr. outside his home, Robinson's weapon fired but did not strike anyone, authorities say. The Youngs retreated inside, where Young Jr. grabbed a 9-mm handgun. Then father and son piled into a truck to chase down Robinson, Stone said.
As the Youngs pursued Robinson down Spanish Wells Road, heading toward Oakview Lane, Young Jr. rolled down the window and tried to fire the gun at Robinson's car. However, his gun didn't work, Stone said, and the "running gun battle" continued.
Robinson parked on Allen Road and walked around a house to hide. The Youngs discharged several rounds at his unoccupied car, the Sheriff's Office has said.
It looked as though the Youngs were about to leave when Robinson aimed his weapon and shot across the yard, striking Khalil, Stone said. The bullet that killed the boy did not come from Young Jr.'s handgun, which was recovered, Stone said.
According to Sgt. Robin McIntosh of the Sheriff's Office, investigators have "no evidence that (Young Sr.) was armed" during the confrontations between the Youngs and Robinson. However, that doesn't mean they have ruled out the possibility, she said.
A LENGTHY RECORD
At the bond hearing, Stone listed Robinson's criminal record. His first felony conviction was in June 1996 for grand larceny, hit and run, and third-degree burglary in Beaufort County. Three times he was paroled; three times he returned to prison for violating terms of his early release, Stone said. Finally, he maxed out his sentence in July 2002.
In 2003, Robinson was again imprisoned, this time getting 13 years for stealing a vehicle and leading a state Highway Patrol trooper on a chase through morning rush-hour traffic through greater Bluffton. He served just a little more than half of that sentence and was released in April 2010, Stone said.
Judge Mullen also heard from Khalil's father, Kareem Singleton of Ridgeland, who choked up as he asked her to keep Robinson in jail. Singleton said Robinson has "destroyed" his family and that other Hilton Head Islanders are scared of him.
Khalil didn't live long enough to make many of his own choices, but Robinson "chose the path that led him here," Singleton said. "The path he chose took my son's life, just 8 years old."
Young Jr. is charged with Khalil's murder, as well. He and Young Sr. also face charges of conspiring to murder Robinson.
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- Hilton Head men, accused of 8-year-old's murder, await bond hearing, Sept. 7, 2012
- As Hilton Head vigil remembers child victim, 2 charged with murder, Sept. 6, 2012
- Deputies continue searching for evidence in Hilton Head child's fatal shooting, Sept. 5, 2012
- 3 of 4 men arrested in Hilton Head boy's shooting are felons, Sept. 4, 2012
- VIDEO: Hilton Head Elementary memorializes slain third-grader, Sept. 4, 2012
- Students at Hilton Head Elementary return to school following shooting death of classmate, Sept. 3, 2012
- Four in custody following shooting death of Hilton Head 8-year-old, Sept. 2, 2012
- Eight-year-old boy shot to death in Hilton Head Island crossfire, Sept. 1, 2012