Why Malaysia Robson suspects won't face death penalty

Posted at 12:49 PM, Apr 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-17 22:57:07-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- With so many outraged at the heinous drive-by killing of a 1-year-old girl last month on Indianapolis' northeast side, some want a form of justice they will not get.

Now that the two people accused of the crime have been formally charged, many in the community are asking for the prosecutor's office to seek the death penalty. That will not happen, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said Tuesday.

Darrin Banks, 27, and Brian Palmer, 29, were each formally charged with one count of murder and one count of battery by means of a deadly weapon. Prosecutors say Banks and Palmer fired "AR-style rifles" from a vehicle at a house in the 3500 block of Wittfield Street last month, killing 1-year-old Malaysia Robson. 

RELATED |Police looking for 2 women connected to 1-year-old Malaysia Robson's death

Under Indiana law, a murder charge can be considered "knowing" or "intentional."

Banks and Palmer didn't mean to kill Robson, but they knew somebody could get hurt or killed when they fired into the house, Curry said. Therefore, the crime is considered "knowing," and is inappropriate for death penalty consideration. Banks and Palmer will instead face life without parole.


If new evidence is revealed that shows that Banks and Palmer intended to kill Robson, it could become a death penalty case. 

Curry likened this case to the infamous 2012 Richmond Hill explosion. Mark and Bob Leonard did not mean to kill Dion and Jennifer Longworth in an explosion, but they knew their actions could result in death.

"In this instance, there is no indication that these individuals who've been charged were firing into a house anticipating that they were going to kill this particular victim, Malaysia," Curry said. 

MORE COVERAGE Court docs: Suspects in 1-year-old Malaysia Robson's death confessed to police2 men arrested in connection with 1-year-old's death | Funeral services held for 1-year-old Malaysia Robson | 'Enough is Enough' Community members march for slain baby | Reward of $6,000 being offered in connection with murder of 1-year-old girl | 1-year-old shot and killed in targeted attack on Indy's northeast side | Homicide detectives make new plea for tips in killing of 1-year-old girl |Grandmother of 1-year-old killed in shooting pleads for justice: 'The violence needs to stop'