Man acquitted of murder

Published 9:21 pm Friday, March 13, 2015

A 22-year-old Suffolk man is free nearly two years after he was accused of shooting and killing another man.

Monte Robinson was 20 at the time of the March 24, 2013, shooting on Stacey Drive that killed Angelo Fleming Beale, 24. Warrants were issued for his arrest soon after the killing, and he was arrested by U.S. Marshals in April 2014 in Georgia.

His four-day jury trial ended Thursday with a not-guilty verdict from the jury, which deliberated for about 10 hours.

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“I think it was the right outcome, but it’s not something anybody’s really doing handsprings over, because regardless of the outcome, one family has lost a member, and another family was looking at losing a member for a very long time,” Robinson’s defense attorney, Patrick Bales, said on Friday.

Bales said he believed a cellphone recording of the moments leading up to the incident, as well as an Instagram post from the victim’s brother after the shooting, swayed the jury.

“The issue was that it was action in self-defense,” Bales said.

Angelo Beale’s brother, Melvin Beale, was on the witness stand Tuesday morning.

“The night he got killed, I heard him say, someone’s gonna die tonight,” Beale said, reading his Instagram post from shortly after the shooting. But he added later, “He didn’t say it as if it was a threat,” and said Angelo Beale had told his brothers and some others in the area to leave in case anything happened.

The cellphone video was mostly useless, because it was at nighttime, Bales said, but it was the audio accompanying it that might have influenced the jury.

“The victim was calling to go get your gun,” he said. “My client is heard on the audio portion of this recording saying, ‘Put your gun down, put your gun down.’”

Witnesses testified that Beale was shooting that night and had shot at Robinson two months prior to the fatal incident.

“My client was very aware that this man will pull the trigger,” Bales said.

George Bruch, who prosecuted the case along with Will Jamerson, said there is no proof of who is speaking in the recording.

“There was probably 20 people yelling and screaming things about guns,” he said. He also noted that Robinson at the time refused to identify who shot at him in the prior incident and only now is saying it was Beale.

Suffolk Police Detective W. Shockley testified that he interviewed Robinson after his arrest in Georgia and Robinson confessed to shooting Beale. Shockley also said he misled Robinson about the bullets found at the scene, saying one of them belonged to Angelo Beale’s gun, when in fact none of them had been matched to Angelo Beale’s gun. Several were matched to his brother Christopher Beale’s gun, who said he fired 17 shots at the hoodie-dressed shooter, whom he couldn’t identify, after seeing his brother get shot.

Shockley said told Robinson one of the bullets came from the victim’s gun, because he felt he was developing a rapport with Robinson and wanted to keep it going. He also said Robinson showed him a wound on his leg he said was a gunshot wound he sustained while running from the scene.

Robinson was released from incarceration Thursday evening, Bales said.