The two boys arrested on charges of murdering three teenagers in central Florida robbed a man at gunpoint, hours before their victims were found shot dead, police said.
Robert Robinson, 17, and 12-year-old Christopher Atkins had arranged to meet a man and sell him a gun for $240 on the evening of March 30. They drove up to his house shortly after 7pm, and the prospective buyer got inside their vehicle.
The gun was placed on the buyer’s lap who then took $240 from his pocket. The weapon was snatched back by one of the boys: Robinson pistol-whipped the man, and then the pair aimed their guns at the man, according to a police report.
The prospective buyer scrambled out the car and ran towards his house: one shot was fired towards him, and the white sedan sped off.
Surveillance camera footage captured the gunshot noise at 7:10pm.
Robert Robinson, 17, was arrested on Friday and accused of killing three teenagers, as well as armed robbery hours before the murders
Robinson’s accomplice was a 12 year old, Christopher Atkins, known as ’35’. Robinson was known as ‘Reaper’
Layla Silvernail, 16, was found shot in the head and left in a dumpster, but still alive. She later died in hospital, before police found two more teenage victims – one 17-year-old boy, and another 16-year-old girl
The car belonged to a member of the Silvernail family, the police report states.
At 10:52pm that same night, Layla Silvernail, 16, was found dying from a gunshot wound.
Her body had been dumped in a dumpster.
The redacted police does not reveal whether Layla was in the car at the time of the armed robbery, less than four hours before she was found dying. It does suggest that a member of the family was with the two thieves.
A female was with the group shortly before the armed robbery.
She told police that ‘Silvernail told her that after she was dropped off, they were going to pick up ‘Reaper’ and ’35’.’
The affidavit says that Robinson went by the name ‘Reaper’, and Atkins was ’35’.
Two other teenage victims were found shortly after Layla Silvernail: an unnamed 17-year-old boy was found less than a mile away on the side of a road, and 16-year-old Camille Quarles was found on April 1 inside Silvernail’s car, which was partially submerged in a pond.
An arrest affidavit for Robinson was produced on April 2, detailing the armed robbery.
Robinson and Atkins were picked out by the victim – the prospective gun buyer – in a photographic line up.
On April 5, an arrest warrant was issued for Robinson on charges of ‘robbery with a firearm or deadly weapon’ – Robinson was arrested two days later, on April 7.
Christopher Atkins, 12, and Robert Robinson, 17, remain in custody on charges related to the killings of three teenagers in Florida
A third perpetrator, Tahj Brewton, is being sought by cops in connection with the shootings
A third suspect in the killings of the three teenagers – Tahj Brewton, 17 – remains at large.
A $10,000 reward has been offered for information that could lead to his capture.
The sheriff in the tiny Florida town of Ocklawaha vowed to hunt down the third suspect in the killings.
‘I will get him,’ said Billy Woods, Marion County sheriff.
Woods explained that the victims and the alleged killers were all ‘associated in some way with a gang’ that was involved in a spate of robberies and burglaries.
‘There is no honor among thieves, and at some point, these individuals turned on our three victims and murdered them,’ said Woods.
He said that the three suspects ‘fled the scene but left a lot of evidence in their wake.’
Woods fought back tears as he described having to ‘stare into the eyes’ of the young suspects’ mothers.
He said: ‘I put myself in the shoes of those mothers because I heard one of them say, ‘I wish I would have known what this one was doing and who they were, because my kid never would have hung out with them.’
Detectives were able to determine that the three teenage victims were together prior to their murders in a vehicle owned by Silvernail, before they were dumped in different locations over a three-day period.
According to an arrest affidavit filed against 12-year-old Atkins, Silvernail’s body was discovered in a garbage dumpster after a vehicle crashed into it, soon after residents heard several gunshots.
Sixteen-year-old Silvernail was still alive when she was discovered near Forest Lakes Park. She later succumbed to her injuries and died in hospital.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods announced arrests had been made during a press conference Friday morning
Silvernail was found, still alive, inside this dumpster in Marion, County Florida
Camille Quarles, 16, was found Saturday inside Silvernail’s car, which was partially submerged in a pond
Layla Silvernail’s friends and family have paid heartbreaking tributes to the teen, who they say was ‘taken from us too soon and will be greatly missed’
This is the location where a schoolgirl found one of the 17-year-old victims while on her way to school
The grisly discovery was followed hours later when an unnamed 17-year-old victim was found less than a mile away on the side of a road.
He was sprawled on the side of a dirt road where a female student says she stumbled over the horror on her way to catch a school bus early on the morning of March 31.
‘I was walking with my brother and I found the guy… he was not breathing,’ the student, who would only give her name as Khatia, told DailyMail.com.
‘He was laying on his side and was wearing a black hoodie, black shirt, black pants and black shoes.
‘He had the hoodie over his head and he had a black mask up over his face.
‘I couldn’t see his face. You could only see his eyes.’
A third victim, 16-year-old Camille Quarles, was found Saturday inside Silvernail’s car, which was partially submerged in a pond.
The arrested suspects confessed to shooting Quarles in the vehicle, Woods said.
They obtained guns from car thefts, he said, but declined to comment on the number of weapons used in the killings.
Asked about the motive, Woods said: ‘We have nothing to say that it was any rivalry or anything to such that cause.
‘However, each and every one of them was associated in some shape or form was associated in some way with a gang.
‘There is no honor among thieves, and at some point, these individuals turned on our three victims and murdered them.’