Surprise twist in San Ramon murder case


/*San Ramon Police*/ held a news conference late Thursday afternoon. Lt. Dan Pratt implied that police may have the actual gunman in custody.

San Ramon Police said the only person arrested so far is /*Reginald Robinson*/, an associate of the victim, mortgage lender /*Kashmir Billon*/.

"Evidence uncovered during the investigation implicates Robinson in the actual commission of the murder. It appears the motive for the murder was financial gain through the real estate transactions," says Lt. Pratt.

Investigators did not say whether Robinson actually pulled the trigger.

Billon was found dead from gunshot wounds outside his bullet-ridden BMW Sunday night. Robinson, who lives in El Sobrante, was arrested the next day.

Robinson appeared in court Thursday for the first time, but the judge continued his arraignment.

Prosecutor Hal Jewett says Robinson tried to hire someone to kill Billon two days before he was murdered. That person went to police.

"Yes, he came forward on his own when he discovered that the killing in fact took place, shocked that it had, and described what he knew about Mr. Robinson and his solicitation to kill," says Jewett.

Robinson's lawyer says his client is innocent and he's mourning the death of his good friend.

"They had a good amicable relationship. Not only just business, in terms of making money together, but also caring for each other and each other's family," says defense lawyer Adante Pointer.

"That's a bunch of b.s. He was a con man," says Harv Singh Billon, the victim's brother. "He conned my brother, took advantage of my brother. My brother was a very generous person. He took advantage of that."

Jewett was also unwilling to say directly whether he believes Robinson is the gunman.

"To the extent that the gunman isn't already in custody, yes, it' s an open question right now, frankly, whether or not Mr. Robinson himself committed this crime after the person he solicited declined his invitation to follow through with it or whether he hired somebody else," says Jewett.

Jewett declined to talk about a motive, but he said there are still some unanswered questions in the murder.

"Some of them which have to do with the motivation of the murder including some rather suspect real estate transactions in the west part of the county," says Jewett.

If police believe they do have the actual gunman in custody, they're not yet ready to say that unequivocally. Robinson's arraignment in Martinez was continued until next Thursday and he's expected to enter his plea at that time.

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