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Man acquitted in slaying of popular former high school football player

TNS Regional News • Sep 1, 2014 at 4:07 PM

A Summit County jury on Friday acquitted an Akron man of murder charges in connection with the 2012 shooting death of a popular former Buchtel High School student.

Jurors deliberated about four hours before finding Jay Robinson not guilty of aggravated murder in the death of 17-year-old Willie Brewer III.

Robinson was on trial for aggravated murder, murder, carrying a concealed weapon and having weapons while under disability.

He also was accused of shooting Alex Watts, 56, a passer-by who was wounded by bullets fired at Brewer.

Robinson is currently on parole after he was released in June after serving a 10-month prison sentence on charges of drug trafficking and drug possession.

Defense attorney John Greven did not call any witnesses during the trial this week in the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge Tammy O’Brien. Robinson maintained his innocence throughout the case, and Greven argued that the prosecution’s star witness mistakenly identified Robinson as the shooter.

At trial, the witness hedged somewhat in identifying Robinson, his attorney said.

“Basically, it was one guy who said Mr. Robinson did it, and that man did not come forward until 19 months later, when he was arrested and he was looking to cut a deal to save himself,” Greven said.

Robinson was arrested last November based on what police called “newly developed information” in connection with Brewer’s shooting, which took place outside a Copley Road convenience store during the mid afternoon in March 2012.

Although the streets were busy with passers-by, no one came forward with information about the shooting for about 20 months.

Brewer, a former Buchtel football player, was shot March 30, 2012, outside the Mr. Pantry near Storer Avenue. A spray of gunfire — at least nine shots — erupted in the busy neighborhood about 3:30 p.m.

Brewer died while being treated at a hospital.

His death seemed to prompt an uptick in community involvement. Local leaders called on residents, pleading with them not to be afraid to come forward with information.

Students at Buchtel High, where Brewer’s mother, Lola, works, held a vigil in his honor. A number of community groups formed and began working to address gun violence around the Copley Road neighborhood.

Those volunteers included a group of students from Buchtel High.


By Phil Trexler - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)

©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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