Courtesy photo Des Moines Register
Rafael Robinson

Rafael Robinson


Rafael Robinson
926 Oakridge
Des Moines, IA
Polk County
Case # 1996-32331
July 31, 1996

On July 31, 1996, Rafael Robinson was shot in the back multiple times outside a public housing complex at 926 Oakridge in Des Moines, Iowa. Gunshots from more than one weapon were heard, but no one admitted witnessing the shooting.

Robinson has become a centerpiece in the upcoming July 8, 2013 second trial for David Flores, who was convicted in 1997 for the 1996 death of Phyllis Davis, a banker who was caught in a two-car shootout between two other vehicles while on her way home from work. The fatal shot killing Davis was said to have been fired from a Chevy Blazer.

Polk County in Iowa
Polk County in Iowa
Des Moines map
Des Moines in Polk County

Flores was granted a new trial in 2009 based on previously undisclosed evidence. He was released on bond from prison in March 2012, but booked back into the Polk County Jail on Thursday, June 20, 2013, after his bond was revoked. (See update at the Des Moines Register)

According to a Des Moines Register article dated March 21, 2009, many said there was a hit out on Robinson, an alleged henchman and Crips gang member.

Register writer Lee Rood, who has covered and written extensively about the Flores/Robinson/Davis case, said in the March ’09 article that gang member Calvin Tyrone Gaines told an FBI agent that Robinson was inside the Blazer from which the fatal bullet came. From prison, Gaines also told the agent he helped Robinson flee to Los Angles after the shooting.

Rood wrote that an unlikely witness had also stepped forward to add credibility that Robinson was the real shooter. The Register reported:

Jarmaine Allen, a Fort Madison prisoner convicted of second-degree murder for his role in the Davis shooting, told the Register he saw only Robinson inside the rival sport-utility vehicle from which the fatal bullet came.

Allen admitted he was inside an Oldsmobile Cutlass that day with two .38 pistols, with Vincent Cortez Brown driving.

In an interview from prison, Allen recounted the shootout, starting with when he and Brown first spied the Blazer near the Homes of Oakridge near downtown and then tried to lose it as bullets began to fly.

Allen recalled waiting to shoot back as they wove along streets because he didn’t have many bullets, and he couldn’t get a good shot. For a time, the two lost the Blazer, and so they stopped at a QuikTrip and called their friend Antonio Speed at home.

“We told him, be prepared. We’ll be pulling up,” he recalled.

Later, near 18th and Atkins streets, Allen said he saw the Blazer stop and turn around. The driver, he said, talked to the occupants of a small red car. Allen shot at them once.

Allen and Brown eventually stopped at Speed’s house. Allen said he got out of the car and fired about 10 shots from behind the driver’s door. Then he ran into Speed’s house to take cover and get more guns.

As the Blazer approached the house, Allen said he could see the driver: Robinson. At one point, he said, he thought he could see the shadow of at least one other person in the car, but he said he couldn’t be sure.

Then the Blazer sped off.

Speed, he said, came out of his house with a Mossberg shotgun and a couple of rifles. They got into the Cutlass and began driving.

The threesome headed to a nearby hardware store to buy bullets, he said. When they returned, they learned Davis was dead. (Des Moines Register, March 21, 2009)

Three months after Phyllis Davis’s death, Robinson was gunned down. His murder also remains unsolved.

Information Needed

Anyone with information regarding Rafael Robinson’s murder is asked to contact the Des Moines Police Department Detective Bureau at (515) 283-4864 or the Polk County Attorney at (515) 286-3737.

Sources and References:


2 Responses to Rafael Robinson

  1. Rose Taylor Sayles says:

    RIP Rafael.

  2. Terri evans says:

    Thank you!!!

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