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Repo murder trial opens; motive at issue

It was not disputed that Brandon Robinson shot and killed David S. Smith. The question attorneys raised Monday afternoon during opening arguments in the murder trial in Fayette Circuit Court was why?

On the night of June 28, 2007, Smith was on his first repossession job, which brought him to the white Oldsmobile Cutlass parked outside Robinson's residence on Laredo Drive.

Four witnesses — including Robinson's girlfriend and her mother — are expected to testify that Robinson, who is charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence, ran behind the car as Smith drove away and yelled, "Give me back my car!"

With the two women screaming behind him, "No, Brandon, no!" he raised a silver, 9mm handgun and fired several shots into the car's rear window, shattering it, attorneys said.

Some of the rounds struck Smith, and the car began to coast before striking a tree. Smith bled to death.

Panicking, Robinson ran away from the scene. Prosecutors say he took apart the handgun and tossed it into a garbage bin.

Robinson had bought the car earlier in the month from Cars R Us on Leestown Road.

According to prosecutors, Robinson began missing payments almost immediately and complained about the used car's consumption of oil.

The day before the fatal shooting, he had a heated telephone discussion with managers at the car lot, allegedly telling them that he would not make any more payments and that if they "want the car, come get it," Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kimberly Henderson Baird said during her opening statement.

Defense attorneys said Robinson was caught up on his payments. The next payment was due on June 29, but Smith came to take the car the night before, attorney Tucker Richardson said.

The shooting was a "terrible, life-altering decision" for Robinson, Richardson told the jury. He said his client thought someone was stealing his vehicle, not repossessing it.

Richardson told the jury he hopes they will find that his client committed a lesser crime, such as manslaughter.

The trial is expected to last four days.

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