KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City man appeared in federal court Thursday to admit he committed a hate crime in 2019 by attempting to murder a local teenager because of the victim’s sexual orientation.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Missouri said Malachi Robinson, 26, pleaded guilty to violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Robinson has been in federal custody since he was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 10, 2021.

According to court documents, Robinson met the victim at the Kansas City Public Library on May 29, 2019. Robinson and the victim talked briefly over the Facebook Messenger app before leaving the library. Robinson walked with the victim to nearby Swope Park under the guise of looking for a place to engage in a sex act.

During the walk, Robinson texted his girlfriend that he “might shoot this boy” because of the victim’s sexual orientation.

When they reached a wooded area, Robinson pulled out a Taurus 9mm pistol and began shooting at the victim, striking the teenager eight times.

Over the next several days, Robinson admitted to others that he shot the teen because of his sexual orientation.

A sentencing date will be scheduled upon completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office. Under federal statutes, Robinson faces up to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.