An Oak Park and River Forest High School student who allegedly brought a loaded handgun to school in May pleaded not guilty to five felony charges late last month at the Maybrook Courthouse in Maywood, according to his attorney and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Keyon Robinson, 18, of Oak Park, was charged with one count of possession of a firearm, a Class 3 felony, and four counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, a Class 4 felony.
A Class 3 felony carries a prison term of up to 10 years and $25,000 in fines if convicted, while standard sentencing for a Class 4 felony charge could lead up to three years in jail on top of $25,000 in fines.
Cook County Judge Teresa Molina initially set Robinson’s bond at $500,000, but Tom Benno, Robinson’s attorney, said he immediately filed an emergency motion to lower the bail and release the high school senior on his own personal recognizance.
Molina granted the motion and released Robinson on a $50,000 unsecured bond, with electronic monitoring.
Benno said the first bond – $500,000 – was “excessive” and “punitive,” and the teen’s family needed to post 10 percent of that bond amount in order for the teen to be released. Robinson’s family “just couldn’t raise it,” Benno said, adding other local community members reached out to him for help.
On May 3, around noon, Oak Park police said they responded to a tip about a person with a gun heading toward the high school at 201 N. Scoville Ave. Police said they immediately found the individual, whom they later identified as Robinson, outside the school’s main entrance with a firearm. Robinson was arrested and taken into custody.
Benno told Wednesday Journal that Robinson has no prior criminal record and was not known to be a violent individual. Benno said he spoke to many people about Robinson, and that they described the teen as “a sweet kid” and “well-liked.” According to Benno, those he talked to told him that “out of all the kids at school, he’s the least likely to have been caught with someone like this.”
During Robinson’s June 24 arraignment, Benno said he presented Molina with a comprehensive report of Robinson’s IEP (individualized education program) and advocated that Robinson return to school to finish his senior year and graduate from high school.
“I believe in saving people, because if [Robinson] has a felony conviction, he’s done,” Benno said. “That’s all there is to it, especially for the aggravated [unlawful use of a weapon] at school.”
Benno told the Journal that Robinson brought a loaded handgun with him to school because he was being bullied and wanted to protect himself but had no intention of harming any other staff or students.
“He was getting threatened, and he would never say by who,” Benno said, adding Robinson received those threats via text messages and emails and was scared for his life. “He got a firearm solely to protect himself.”
A police report obtained by the Journal through a public records request indicated that earlier on May 3, before Robinson headed off to school, he had gotten into a physical altercation with a relative at their home. Robinson told police that his relative “was threatening him” and “was afraid that if he left the gun at home while he went to school, that [his relative] would use the weapon on him.”
Robinson told police he took the gun – a 9 mm semi-automatic “Glock-style” handgun – and placed it in his backpack. According to the report, Robinson said he kept the loaded weapon in his backpack, which remained with him throughout the school day.
The Oak Park teen also informed police he purchased the gun from someone through the social media app SnapChat last summer. Police indicated in the report Robinson’s weapon was a “ghost Glock” and did not feature any serial numbers. Ghost guns are “unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be purchased online and assembled at home,” according to Brady: United Against Gun Violence, a nonprofit that aims to expand background checks for firearms.
Benno said Robinson “never posed a threat” and “you could see how innocent he is because you don’t pack [a loaded handgun] at the bottom of your backpack.”
A status hearing for Robinson is scheduled for Aug. 10.