ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) - Sam Saadiq Robinson was just 16 years old when he was arrested and charged in a double homicide in 2019.
Now, he’s 18 and has been sentenced to 50 years in a South Carolina prison.
Robinson pleaded guilty in a York County court Tuesday to all charges related to the February 2019 shooting deaths of Zuinquarius McCrorey, 20, and Malik McCullough, 23.
He pleaded guilty to two murder charges and five weapons charges, which included a drive-by shooting at one of the victim’s homes the day before the killings, according to court records.
“The victim’s family lost people, my family lost me and I lost my life as well,” Robinson said in court.
Prosecutors called these murders “senseless.”
The prosecution believes this was a way for Robinson to earn gang status with the Crips. According to the prosecutor, just this month, Robinson wrote an email to a friend, stating “I’m a Crip. I have respect.”
On the day of the shooting, he apparently showed his pistol to everyone in the car with him. Shortly after prosecutors say he shot them execution-style. In court, Robinson spoke up about what happened.
“I’m not gonna come up with no sob story about why I did it or why not or how it happened,” Robinson said. “I just want the victim’s families to know, my family know and myself know, I apologize for what I did.”
Robinson had requested to be in court via Zoom, but because of technical difficulties, he was brought into the courtroom.
The detective and prosecutors called the murders “executions.”
The prosecution argued that point when asking for the full 50-year sentence.
The pleas for it only grew as the victim’s families spoke in court and virtually.
McCrorey and McCullough’s fathers asked for the max sentence.
”This is truly two murders in cold blood with two people who thought they were friends with the defendant,” said the prosecutor.
”To me, it was uncalled for. I don’t know what was going on but it hurts every day,” said McCullough’s father.
”I think he should get the full 50. It will give him some time to think. He took my only child,” added McCrorey’s father.
Prosecutors said Robinson has gang ties to the Crips, apparently in Columbia, and that he was possibly trying to gain gang status. Officials said he admitted to it as recently as March inside “jail mail.”
Robinson’s defense attorney argued Robinson was only a teenager who thought his friends knew he had shot up the house McCullough lived in the day before. Robinson’s mother, who was charged with hiding her son in Charlotte, told the judge her son was sweet and accomplished.
”We all lost some loved ones here. Including me. Even though he’s here, I lost him too,” she said.
When given the floor, Robinson apologized. He even teared up speaking about the years he’ll spend in jail.
”By the time I get out, most of my family are going to be dead and gone,” said Robinson. “So even though I’m not alone right now, I’ll probably be alone in the future.”
According to Rock Hill Police Detective Ryan Thomas, Robinson acquired a semi-automatic pistol on February 25, 2019 and intended to use the weapon to commit crimes within the city.
Police said Robinson fired his gun at a home on Chestnut Street on two different occasions. The home was occupied by the parents of 23-year-old Malik McCullough.
One day later, McCullough and his friend 20-year-old Zenquarius McCrorey were killed on the same street. At the time of the murder, police did not believe the shooting into the home on Chestnut Street was related to the murders. In court on Friday, police say Robinson is responsible for both crimes.
According to Thomas, one day after shooting at McCullough’s home he got into a car with McCullough and McCrorey. Police say McCullough and McCrorey needed to get ready for work and pulled into McCullough’s driveway.
Police said McCrorery and McCullough rode with Robinson and a girl.
Robinson drove, showed everyone a pistol, got out of the car and shot McCrorey and McCullough., according to court records.
According to court records, a “good citizen” heard the gunshot pop, saw the defendant hiding around a house and called 911.
The Chevy Impala was still in drive, according to police, and continued to roll down the street. Meanwhile, police say Robinson jumped out of the car and attempted to hide the murder weapon.
The Impala eventually crashed into a fence near the intersection of Chestnut and Jones Avenue. Police say Robinson went back to the car and pretended to render aid to McCullough and McCrorey.
Robinson was eventually arrested in Charlotte. His mother, Nikkiyah Alston, was also charged for obstructing justice.