12-year-old, 2 others charged as adults in shooting deaths of 3 Marion County teens

Tahj Brewton, 16, Robert Robinson, 17, and Christopher Atkins, 12, arrested in April

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Three suspects, including a 12-year-old, accused in the shooting deaths of three teens in Marion County have been charged as adults, according to the state attorney’s office.

Tahj Brewton, 16; Robert Robinson, 17; and Christopher Atkins, 12, were arrested in April following a string of shootings in the Ocklawaha area that killed 16-year-old Layla Silvernail, 16-year-old Camille Quarles and 17-year-old Michael Hodo Jr.

The state attorney’s office said on Tuesday a grand jury indicted Robinson and Brewton on three counts of first-degree murder charges and Atkins on one count of first-degree murder. The trio was also charged with robbery with a firearm and tampering with physical evidence.

Sheriff Billy Woods said Silvernail was found on the side of the road in the area of the Forest Lakes Park neighborhood on SE 183rd Avenue Road on March 30. Hodo’s body was found hours later on March 31 shot on the side of the road near SE 94th Street and SE 188th Court. Quarles’ body was found in Silvernail’s vehicle, which was partially submerged near a body of water near Malauka Loop and Malauka Loop Trace on April 1. The state attorney’s office said she was shot twice and found in the trunk of the vehicle.

Investigators said the vehicle, a Chevrolet Cruze that belonged to Silvernail, carried six individuals at the time of the shooting: the three victims and three suspects. The sheriff said the shootings were a result of gang-related activity.

“Although we had out there that it was gang-related, we have nothing specific to say that it was any rivalry,” Woods said. “However, each and every one of them in some shape or form is associated with a gang. Basically, (in) simple terms, there is no honor among thieves, and at some point, these three individuals turned on our three victims and murdered them.”

Robinson and Atkins both confessed to shooting the girl who was found in the trunk, according to Woods. He also said the 12-year-old’s involvement in the crime is “that he shot the third victim, who (was) in the trunk of the car.”

All three suspects are being held on no bond at the Marion County jail.

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About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.