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Attorneys for Shanquella Robinson's family continue to seek justice for her killing

Shanquella Robinson

Shanquella Robinson was a 25-year-old graduate of Winston-Salem University and entrepreneur from Charlotte who died on Oct. 29, 2022, while on vacation with six people in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Nearly a month later, a video surfaced showing Robinson being beaten by one of her traveling companions, which reportedly caused the injuries that led to her passing. An autopsy listed a spinal cord injury and atlas luxation as the cause of her death. Since then, attorney Sue-Ann Robinson (no relation) has been working with the Ben Crump Law Firm representing Shanquella Robinson’s family to seek justice for her killing. Sue-Ann Robinson spoke with WFAE's Marshall Terry about the case.

Marshall Terry: We haven't gotten many new details since the news of Shanquella Robinson's death broke last year. You traveled to Mexico to gather information for this case. What did you find out?

Sue-Ann Robinson: Going to Mexico and going to the Mexican Red Cross, the police department, the attorney general's office, the funeral home that prepared Shanquella Robinson's body to be sent back to the United States, and going to the villa, I learned a few things about the case -- but most importantly, just that there really isn't a clear path to follow in a case like this where a loved one is murdered abroad. But I was able to obtain some of the documents from the Mexican authorities that they actually have advised, they sent over as part of the extradition packet, which includes the autopsy, their crime scene findings and statements of witnesses and things like that. And I did send some of the documents over to the White House late last week so that they would understand that this is a legitimate case and has been investigated by the Mexican authorities in order to kind of prompt them to intervene in the case.

Terry: What kind of response have you gotten from the White House and from the State Department?

Robinson: Well, we saw that the White House press secretary gave her condolences last week and advised that any questions about the process should be directed to the State Department, which is who we sent the letter to. The purpose of the letter was to close the gap on the administration's ability to say we didn't know about the case that happened in Mexico. We don't know what the ask is. So that's a step in the right direction: Is the White House acknowledging the case?

Terry: Mexican authorities issued an arrest warrant for the suspect in this case. She's been identified as Daejhanae Jackson. Where is Jackson now? And is there concern that she might flee the country to avoid extradition?

Robinson: I can say that Jackson is not in custody that we're aware of. And the concern is that every day that passes, evidence -- including witness memory, because witnesses are going to have to give statements -- is dissipating. So the urgency and the concern and the reason why we're going to the president is because it's been 137 or 138 days. And every day that passes, the evidence dissipates, including people who are suspected of being involved.

Terry: Can you explain the extradition process when a U.S. citizen is charged with a crime against another U.S. citizen in a foreign country?

Robinson: The extradition process would involve the foreign country sending their full investigative packet to the U.S. authorities, and then the Department of Justice, and the State Department have to approve the actual extradition packet to permit that person to be preliminarily held. And then there would be a petition for the extradition filed in federal court here. This is how we know it hasn't been done, because there's no petition pending where the person who's attempting to be extradited would have the opportunity to object to being extradited. So that would be in federal court here, and that hasn't occurred.

Marshall Terry: Why does it take so long? Here we are, five, almost six months later now. Why does it take so long?

Sue-Ann Robinson: It doesn't take so long if it's being prioritized. We saw with the Mexican kidnapping case how immediate U.S. law enforcement can get on the same page with Mexican law enforcement, and it is different substantively from Shanquella's case. But it does demonstrate that the response from U.S. law enforcement working with Mexican law enforcement on a transnational criminal case can be swift. It just has not been in Shanquella Robinson's case. And that's why I am working with the family, because I believe that her case deserves that level of attention, that level of intervention, because her life mattered.

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Marshall came to WFAE after graduating from Appalachian State University, where he worked at the campus radio station and earned a degree in communication. Outside of radio, he loves listening to music and going to see bands - preferably in small, dingy clubs.