Man sentenced in death of undercover detective, informant

Jul 6, 2022, 9:45 AM | Updated: 10:53 am

CLEVELAND (AP) — A man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for a botched robbery that ended with the fatal shooting of an undercover Cleveland detective and his informant.

Kevin Robinson, 19, pleaded guilty to two counts each of aggravated murder and robbery, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. He must serve 28 years of his sentence before he becomes eligible for parole.

The pleas came the same day he was due to appear in court for a pretrial hearing.

Robinson was 17 when detective James Skernivitz, 53, and informant Scott Dingess, 50, were killed Sept. 3, 2020, while they were in an unmarked car preparing for a drug operation. A group of youths approached them and fired several shots into the vehicle, authorities said.

Skernivitz, a married father of three and a 22-year member of the Cleveland force, had been sworn in as a member of a federal violent crime task force the day before he was killed. Authorities have not said whether he was working, either for the task force or for the gang unit to which he was normally assigned, when he was shot.

Robinson and another defendant, David McDaniel, were accused of firing the shots into the vehicle. McDaniel, who was 19 at the time, is facing capital murder charges and could receive a death sentence if convicted. His next court date is scheduled for July 21.

Another youth charged in the case, who was 15 at the time of the robbery and did not fire any shots, pleaded guilty in August 2021 to two counts of aggravated murder. He is now serving a term in the state’s youth services facility.

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Man sentenced in death of undercover detective, informant