Star witness in 1-year-old's murder having second thoughts about testifying

Malaysia Robson was killed in a drive-by shooting in March 2018. (Family photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — The star witness in a high-profile murder trial is now on the fence about testifying.

It's been more than a year since 1-year-old Malaysia Robson died in a drive-by shooting.

Now the man who led police to the main suspects opens up in an exclusive interview about his decision to come forward and why he's now having second thoughts.

Just days after the shooting at the North Wittfield Street house, according to court documents, that star witness led detectives to the two suspects.

The concerned witness said, "It could have been one of my kids."

For his own safety, he asked Eyewitness News not to identify him during our interview Tuesday morning. The star witness in Robson's shooting death — where two Indianapolis men stand accused of murder — acknowledged that he broke street code by coming forward to help investigators.

Since breaking his silence, the witness and his family have received several threats, sparking concern for their safety.

"People are more worried about who told to get them guys caught. They are not worried about the fact that it's a baby that got killed," the witness said.

Robson died after the March 29, 2018 drive-by shooting at her grandmother's home. The gunfire broke out around 2 a.m. as the baby girl slept on the couch in the living room. The gunfire also injured an adult woman in the house.

The shooting stems from an argument that reportedly started on Facebook, which led to a physical fight at the Carriage House Apartments on Indy’s far east side.

Court documents show the prosecutors' star witness named Darrin Banks and Brian Palmer as the men who shot up the house, killing the 1-year-old girl. Undercover detectives conducted surveillance on the pair and eventually pulled them over for a traffic violation. That’s where police discovered what they believe are the weapons used in the shooting.

During questioning, Banks reportedly explained when he got into the car with his AR pistol, he noticed Palmer in the car with his AR rifle. Palmer reportedly admitted his role in the shooting and gave a similar account given by Banks.

The star witness said after broken promises from the prosecutor's office, not testifying is all that's on his mind.

When asked during the exclusive interview with Eyewitness News what it would take to get him to the witness stand, the star witness said, "Yes, everything they were supposed to do in the beginning." He did not want to detail the list of items he believes the prosecutor’s office failed to follow through on, citing safety reasons.

Rev. Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition fears without the star witness, Malaysia's accused killers will go free. Harrison talked about the efforts to get more witnesses to share information to ensure criminals held accountable especially in high-profile violent crimes like homicides. Prosecutors secured funds in the city's annual budget to help witnesses.

"They came to the community and told us that money would be set aside to help people who were going to be witnesses in these kind of cases, in this case a homicide. They have to follow through on that," said Harrison.

During the interview, the star witness said he wants to meet directly with Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, especially since the trial is just around the corner. The suspects will now have separate trials. Banks will go to trial on Monday with Judge Mark Stoner, while Palmer's case being heard in September.

Some of the evidence in the case includes recorded telephone calls turned over to prosecutors from the star witness, as well as surveillance video from a home near Malaysia Robson's grandmother's home at the time of the shooting. If convicted in the murder, Banks and Palmer could spend most of the rest of their lives behind bars.

"I have done bad things all of my life," said the star witness, "and now the one thing I do right, I get treated like this."

Harrison told Eyewitness News he will try to personally take the star witness to the City-County Building, if need be, in order to ensure that Malaysia Robson's accused killers are held accountable for allegedly taking her life.