Offering an apology to Mark Robinson and family

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 17, 2011

I am writing in response to the article in The Ironton Tribune following the Court of Appeals affirming my conviction for the accidental shooting of Mark Robinson.

I wanted to write this letter to explain my position about the case and I also wanted to issue a public apology to Mark Robinson and his family for what happened to him.

From the moment I discovered that Mark Robinson was shot I felt horrible. When I found out what happened resulted in his being paralyzed, I was devastated.

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The night this happened, I had no idea the end result would be what it was and had I thought for a second this would have happened I most certainly would have done things differently.

I wish I could turn back the clock and fix this. Unfortunately I cannot. That is something that I must live with and it is something I assure you I will regret for the rest of my life.

I did not mean for this to happen to him, and I wish to state now publicly, to him and to his family, I am deeply sorry for what happened.

I know a lot of people think because I filed an appeal challenging my conviction, I am in some way trying to escape responsibility for what happened to Mark Robinson.

That is not what my appeal is about at all, as I am not trying to deny that Mark Robinson was shot or that I am not willing to accept to accept responsibility for that. I filed the appeal because the shooting was what it was, a terrible accident that happened in a moment of reckless behavior.

I entered the Alford Plea like I did because I was under the mistaken belief that by doing so, the record would properly reflect that the shooting was a horrible accident. I would never have argued that I did not shoot Mark Robinson. My argument has always been that what happened was not intentional.

I know that sounds like a case of splitting hairs but that is not what I am trying to say at all. I wasn’t charged with what the prosecutor and police publicly claimed I did, “accidentally (recklessly)” shooting Mark Robinson.

Instead, I was charged with felonious assault, which means that I “intentionally” (knowingly) shot Mark Robinson. To me, and to anyone else charged with a crime, the difference between one and the other is a mighty big difference.

I was confronted with a situation where I had a choice of either lying, refusing to admit I did anything wrong or pleading guilty and lying to the court and saying I knowingly shot Mark Robinson.

I am an honest man, who firmly believes in accepting responsibility for what I have done in my life. So when I was confronted with the situation I was after being charged, I refused to do anything but tell the honest truth, which was, “I’ll accept responsibility for what happened” but “I will never say I did this knowingly and intentionally.”

My position is not self-serving as some may think and it is a position that all parties were in agreement with.

Not even the prosecutor or police have ever said I intentionally (knowingly) shot Mark Robinson.

Rather, than charge me with accidentally shooting Mr. Robinson, the prosecutor charged me with a charge that by definition means I “intentionally” (knowingly) shot Mr. Robinson. Just like anyone else who is inherently honest and willing to admit when they have done something wrong, I took issue with saying I did this intentionally (knowingly).

I entered the plea I did because I was under the mistaken belief that the court would recognize that I did not intentionally shoot Mr. Robinson. I entered the plea because counsel told me if I did, I would not have to say I intentionally or knowingly shot Mark Robinson.

At the time of the plea, it was not about denying responsibility for the shooting, it was about whether I did it intentionally (knowingly). I assumed by entering the Alford Plea that would be made clear. I know now I was misled by counsel and as a result I will forever be seen as knowingly and intentionally shooting Mr. Robinson.

I would ask that you please publish this letter in the paper in its entirety, allow me to issue this heartfelt public apology to Mark Robinson and his family and allow me to publicly state that at no time in my life have I ever intentionally, or knowingly, aimed a gun at another human being and pulled the trigger.

I wish I could take back what happened to Mr. Robinson and once again wish to say publicly to him and to his family I am deeply sorry for what happened to him.

I thank you in advance for your time and attention to what I have had to say and I earnestly hope you’ll provide the public forum for me to express how I feel about what happened and explain why I chose to appeal my conviction.

Floyd McCann, Ironton