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URBANA — A Joliet 17-year-old is in custody in Champaign County on charges of first-degree murder in the death of an Urbana man who was fatally shot in Champaign last fall.

Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink said even though Amari Robinson is 17, a juvenile in the eyes of the law, she will automatically be tried as an adult for the killing of Martin Morrow, 29. First-degree murder is an offense that qualifies for automatic transfer to adult court.

Mr. Morrow was found in the middle of the 3000 block of West William Street near Duncan Road about 2 a.m. Oct. 8. He died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Alferink said Robinson knew Mr. Morrow and that the two of them and others had been together at a cookout at Mr. Morrow’s girlfriend’s home in Champaign that day.

The prosecutor said Mr. Morrow and his girlfriend had gone to her bedroom to lie down when Robinson and others urged him to join them to “do a lick,” street parlance for committing a robbery.

Mr. Morrow agreed and a total of five people left the house .

“Shortly thereafter, shots were fired and Mr. Morrow was found in the middle of the road,” Alferink said.

Police think the robbery was a ruse to lure him out of the house. They never found evidence that a robbery had been committed.

The investigation is continuing into the role that the others present may have played. Alferink declined to comment on any motive Robinson may have had.

Champaign police had been investigating the murder — one of 10 homicides in Champaign last year — since it happened and had been in contact with police in Joliet, where Robinson is from.

She was arrested there Sunday on an unrelated gun offense, Alferink said, and returned to Champaign County where she has two pending juvenile delinquency cases.

She was charged in Champaign County on Tuesday with Mr. Morrow’s murder and is being held in the Juvenile Detention Center.

The unresolved juvenile cases in Champaign County are for possession of a stolen vehicle from 2020 and another for domestic battery from earlier this year.

Robinson is due in court today.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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