It was a subdued scene Monday morning in State Supreme Court as 20-year-old Leonard Robinson was sentenced to a maximum of life in prison for the murder of Antoin Vance on Nov. 29.
Robinson, also known as “Pooder,” stood before Justice Penny M. Wolfgang and quietly apologized to the victim and his family. No friend or family member came forward to speak on behalf of the victim.
Vance, 42, was killed after he allegedly sent threatening text messages to Robinson, a one-time friend of his, because Vance thought Robinson had stolen money from him. Robinson has maintained that he took nothing from Vance but feared for his life.
Robinson confessed that he went to confront Vance at his home at 302 Purdy St. and began shooting because he was frightened. He also said he did not intend to harm Vance’s 24-year-old niece, who was hit by the gunfire but survived.
“All these explanations for killing someone and injuring an innocent person are ridiculous,” Wolfgang said during the sentencing.
She sentenced Robinson to 18 years to life in prison, which he will serve concurrently with an 18-year sentence he received earlier this year for robbing a Bailey Avenue barbershop in June 2015.
Robinson’s case gained public attention because, as he sped on Woodlawn Avenue to get away from the shooting scene, he missed a turn at Humboldt Parkway, drove through guardrail and plunged more than 20 feet onto the Kensington Expressway. Surprisingly, he was not seriously injured and was able to escape, leaving his injured girlfriend inside. Robinson took a bus to California, where he was arrested about a month later and returned to Buffalo.
Assistant District Attorney John P. Feroleto, who prosecuted the case, has said he believes Robinson will serve much more than the minimum of 18 years, considering his other convictions and the facts of the case.