CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cleveland man was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for his role in the slayings of Cleveland police Detective James Skernivitz and informant Scott Dingess.
Kevin Robinson, 19, pleaded guilty prior to the sentencing to aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in the Sept. 3, 2020, incident. He apologized to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Joan Synenberg, who ordered Robinson’s first chance of parole in 28 years.
Robinson was 17 at the time of the offense. Under state law, his age prevented him from being sentenced to life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
Robinson, David McDaniel, 20, of Cleveland, and a then-15-year-old boy walked up to a car occupied by Skernivitz, who was undercover at the time, and Dingess, 50, and tried to rob them near West 65th Street and West 67th Place, prosecutors said.
Robinson and McDaniel fired several shots at them, and all three ran away from the scene, prosecutors said.
Officers responded after getting a call from Skernivitz, prosecutors said. He attempted to drive away, but he crashed his car. Skernivitz and Dingess were taken to a local hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
McDaniel’s case is still ongoing, and his next court date is scheduled for July 21, Michael O’Malley, the county prosecutor, said in a tweet. McDaniel faces the death penalty if convicted.
The boy was sentenced last August to serve time in a juvenile facility until he turns 21 for his role in the botched robbery.
The boy did not fire any shots during the incident. He previously pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated murder.
“The matter as a whole was a tragedy, and five families will have a void for the rest of their lives,” said attorney Jonathan McDonald after the hearing. His firm, McDonald Humphrey, represented Robinson.
Police and prosecutors previously said the group did not know Skernivitz was an officer and that the shooting and attempted robbery were random.