Authorities in Florida said three men murdered a 17-year-old high school student to prevent her from testifying in court after she accused one of the suspects of sexually assaulting her. According to WPDE, authorities said 36-year-old Lenard White offered Sheldon Robinson, 21, and Keshawn Woods, 22, money to kill the victim after she reported White for sexual assault.
In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Justice said the victim and her mother went to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office on February 6, 2023, to report that White had sexually assaulted the 17-year-old. White is said to have subsequently offered Woods and Robinson $10,000 to kill the victim to prevent her from filing criminal charges against him.
Authorities said Robinson and Woods went to the victim and her mother’s home the next day and knocked on the door. The two suspects opened fire after the door was opened, with the victim being fatally struck by four bullets. The victim’s mother also sustained gunshot wounds.
During the federal investigation into the incident, authorities said White, Robinson, and Williams tried to “hinder the investigation by disposing of evidence, tampering with witnesses, obstructing justice, and making false statements to law enforcement.”
The trio has since been charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire, murder for hire, discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence which caused the death of the victim, and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime.
White and Robinson also face additional charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, tampering with a witness, and obstruction of justice. Robinson’s mother, Janet Williams, has also been charged with multiple counts of false statements to federal agents.
White, Robinson, and Woods each face mandatory life imprisonment, or the federal death penalty if found guilty. Williams, on the other hand, faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for each of the three false statement counts, authorities said.
The three men are currently in custody while Williams was released on conditions including home detention after her initial court appearance on October 26, 2023.