MERCER – A Youngstown man was sentenced Wednesday in the May 2019 shooting death of Khalil Hopson in Sharon.
Eddie James Robinson, 27, pleaded guilty to Sharon police charges of third-degree murder, cruelty to animals and perjury for his role in the May 23, 2019, shooting death of 24-year-old Khalil “Champ” Hopson.
Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Daniel P. Wallace sentenced Robinson to 15 to 45 years in prison. The sentence includes 14 to 40 years on the murder charge, 1 to 2 years for cruelty to animals to run concurrently and 1 to 5 years for perjury, to run consecutively.
Mercer County District Attorney Peter C. Acker declined to comment on the sentence because a woman is awaiting trial on accusations that she assisted Robinson in Hopson’s murder.
Alexis Evonna Holmes, 22, of New Castle, is charged with first- second- and third-degree murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and homicide. Her case is pending in common pleas court.
Acker said the COVID-19 pandemic, which has delayed court action, has affected progress of Holmes’ prosecution.
“We haven’t been able to try criminal cases for 8½ out of 12 months, which removes incentives for people to resolve their case,” Acker said.
Sharon police said Robinson and Holmes conspired to rob Hopson of several thousand dollars they believed he had in his home.
Patrolmen arrived in response to a 5:32 a.m. report of the shooting at 1239 Cedar Ave., Hopson was lying on the kitchen floor with a gunshot wound, according to a police report. Hopson’s pit bull, Blue, had also been shot.
Hopson, a standout basketball player at Sharon High School who later played at Penn State DuBois, died later that day in a Youngstown hospital. Blue died a few days later from his injuries.
Hopson’s father was the only other person in the house when police arrived. He said he was sleeping when he heard two gunshots.
He told police that Khalil yelled that he had been shot and that Holmes had let the shooter into the house, according to a police report.
Holmes told police during an interview that three armed men rushed the porch around 5 a.m. and ordered Holmes and Hopson to the ground.
Holmes said she froze while one man held her at gunpoint, and Hopson ran into the home followed by two gunmen. She was able to run away and called a friend for a ride.
She told police she had recently broken up with Robinson, previously her boyfriend. But police discovered text messages between the pair as they discussed robbing “Champ” for several thousand dollars, police said in the report.
Investigators said video surveillance taken near Holmes’ home showed her with Robinson several hours before the robbery. The video showed Holmes handing a weapon to Robinson. Robinson then entered Holmes’ vehicle with another man and the gun and drove away.
A witness told police that Holmes and Robinson were involved in the robbery and Hopson’s murder. The witness said they had been shopping together in Youngstown in the early morning of May 24 and that they stayed in a hotel together in the Youngstown area.
When detectives went to interview Holmes again, she was gone.
On June 5, 2019, Holmes and Robinson were arrested together by U.S. Marshals and officers with the Mahoning Valley Task Force at a hotel in Austintown, Ohio.
Robinson remained Wednesday in Mercer County Jail before serving out his sentence in a state prison.
Holmes’ next court appearance is scheduled for March 2.
Follow Melissa Klaric on Twitter and Facebook @HeraldKlaric, email: email@example.com