City Desk

Must Read: Police Affidavit On Pizza Mart Murder

Today, the Washington Post had a nice scoop on the Pizza Mart murder, writing that the motive for the killing of Shahabuddin Rana wasn't robbery but involved a complicated immigration scheme. WaPo writes:

"At first, the slaying of Shahabuddin Rana, 44, inside his Pizza Mart in the 2300 block of Fourth Street NE appeared to have stemmed from a conventional robbery, police said. But they said a bizarre story took shape in the days afterward, leading to the arrest Friday of Shanika Robinson, 26, of Capitol Heights.

In an affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court, Detective Robert Cephas said a witness told him that Rana had been paying Robinson to continue in a sham marriage with his brother, a Pakistani national who helps run the Pizza Mart in the Edgewood neighborhood. The scheme was intended to improve the brother's immigration status and help him eventually get his green card, the affidavit says.

The deal fell apart, however, after the brother, whom police have not publicly identified, found out that Robinson "was having sexual affairs," Cephas wrote. Even though the brother and Robinson were married only on paper and did not live together, Rana "became upset" with Robinson and told her "that she would not be getting paid the money that they agreed upon anymore," the affidavit says."

City Desk has the affidavit which you can read [PDF].

In his affidavit, Detective Robert Cephas writes about the brutal crime scene:

"On Tuesday, August 18, 2009, at about 12:20 p.m. Officer Thompson of the Fifth District while on routine patrol was flagged down by a citizen who advised that a family member of the owner of the Pizza Mart, a carry out located at 2300 4th Street, N.E. Washington, D.C., had attempted to enter the store to locate the owner, but could not gain entry. Officer Thompson located the family member at the store. The relative advised Office Thompson that it had been trying to speak with the owner on the phone since the morning of August 18, 2009....Officer Thompson was able to enter the premises of the Pizza Mart with the assistance of pliers. Once inside he found the owner, Shahabuddin Rana, unconscious, on the floor, face down, in a pool of blood. There were burnt matches on his back and his body appeared to have been set afire. A hair was observed in his mouth. Additional hairs were recovered from the decedent's hand. Bloody objects which could have been used to beat the decedent were recovered from the scene. A receipt in the store indicated that the decedent was alive at 1:30 a.m. on August 18, 2009."

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