Not guilty plea for San Ramon murder

May 8, 2008 7:55:17 PM PDT
The suspect in the murder-for-hire case that led to the murder of a San Ramon businessman pled "not guilty" in a Martinez courtroom on Thursday morning. Prosecutors say they believe the killing was linked to a mortgage scam.

Reginald Robinson was arraigned in Martinez on murder and murder-for-hire charges in the death of Kashmir Billon, his business partner.

The 47-year-old Billon was gunned down April 27th, in San Ramon's first murder in two years.

Billon apparently loaned Robinson money to flip a North Richmond home. Prosecutors believe that was the extent of Billon's involvement in the deal.

"We have no evidence to suggest that he was doing anything illegal," said prosecutor Ken McCormick.

Prosecutors now say Robinson had purchased the home at inflated price intending to defrauded mortgage lender JP Morgan-Chase.

The Contra Costa District Attorney's Office believes Billon may have been killed when he found out about the deal.

"He hasn't been charged with any of that so, until that issue comes before us, we really don't have any information about it," said Robinson's attorney John Burris.

But police have apparently found a number of items seized from Robinson's cell that indicate he may have been trying cover his tracks by destroying evidence.

"They've gone into his cell and removed items - items we believe are protected by attorney client privilege," said Burris.

"Police have a duty to go into the jail cell and find evidence of what looks like a destruction of evidence," said McCormick.

Billon's family was in the courtroom today - but didn't talk to reporters.

Robinson's family however showed up to show their support for the 31-year-old suspect. After the hearing they told reporters he didn't kill anyone, and never would.

"I am just surprised that anyone would think that Reggie would do something to this man who has been so nice to him. It's like biting the hand that feeds you," said family member Edward Lewis.

"He struggled too hard, to really have a decent life and to do something like this would be just out of his character," said Robinson's uncle Robert Evans.

Robinson will be back in court in two weeks.

Written and produced by Ken Miguel.


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