After the shooting death of Mikhy Robinson in 2011, suspect Wakir Bryant appealed his manslaughter charge at the Superior Court Appellate Division of New Jersey.
But by the time the two-judge panel delivered their verdict, Bryant was already dead in what prosecutors are calling a “targeted killing.”
In the 2011 incident, Bryant had brought a stolen .45-caliber gun into the apartment where Mikhy slept, and left the weapon in his coat where the toddler could reach it. Despite earlier reports that Bryant had shot the child in the mouth himself, most now believe that the death was as accident.
Said the judges, “Although various suppositions may be proposed as to how the child was fatally shot, the evidence permits an assumption that the child somehow obtained the gun from defendant’s coat and shot himself.”
Bryant had been dating the boy’s mother for several weeks, and arrived at her apartment drunk around 2 or 3 a.m. All three were asleep on a floor mattress when a gunshot jolted the mother awake.
She reportedly saw the gun on the floor next to her son, and then woke up Bryant to have him call 911.
Kokhita Lewis, a family friend, called Mikhy a “very smart child” and said in an earlier interview, “He's a beautiful kid. It's just sad he's gone.”
A week after Bryant himself was found dead, the judges denied his appeal. They determined that enough evidence existed for a jury to consider whether he was ultimately responsible for the toddler’s death.
According to the panel, Bryan’ own account of events was enough to try him for manslaughter.
Their report read, "Defendant's own statement provides evidence from which the grand jury could conclude it was defendant's handgun that fired the fatal bullet and that defendant brought the loaded handgun into the vicinity of a child who, as the judge observed, ‘was old enough to walk around and could readily access defendant's jacket, which was [on] the floor of the room.”