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Boston Herald
Boston Herald
22 Jul 2023
Taylor Hartz

NextImg:CT man found guilty in death of mother killed by stray bullet while sitting in her sewing room

A Naugatuck man has been found guilty of leading a conspiracy to commit murder that led to the death of a Waterbury mother who was struck and killed by a stray bullet while sitting at her sewing machine in her own home.

Franklin Robinson, 40, was found guilty on multiple charges including murder and conspiracy to commit murder in a plan that led to the death of 56-year-old Mabel Martinez Antongiorgi while she was in her craft room in her house on Orange Street in April 2022, according to Waterbury police and the Division of Criminal Justice.

According to evidence presented at his trial, Robinson was jealous of a man who had said hello to his girlfriend and conspired to kill him. He fought with the man and his friends on the morning of April 9, 2022, and then recruited two people he knew to find them and shoot them, officials said.

That afternoon, Robinson and his two associates found the car that they wanted to target parked on Orange Street, where Martinez Antongiorgi lived with her husband of more than 30 years. They fired 22 bullets at the car, officials said.

All of the bullets missed their intended target, but one flew through the wall of a pale green house on the street and fatally struck Martinez Antongiorgi while she was ironing, according to police and court records.

Mother killed by a stray bullet moved from Puerto Rico to find safety. Now her family mourns the loving seamstress whose talents knew no limits

Her son Juan Luis Mercado Martinez found her dead on the floor of her carefully designed craft room, which was painted purple and filled with crafting and sewing supplies to suit her many talents.

Martinez Antongiorgi lived in the home with her husband, where she helped care for the 7-month-old grandson. They had raised three children: Juan Luis Mercado Martinez, his younger brother Herbito Mercado Martinez and their youngest and only daughter, Yarimar Mercado Martinez, an Olympic rifle shooter for Puerto Rico.

Forensic evidence revealed that one of Robinson’s associates fired the bullet that hit Martinez Antongiorgi, but Robinson was found criminally liable for murder since he had recruited the additional shooters and identified the target. Robinson was convicted under precedent set in the case of Pinkerton v. United States, which held that a conspirator is accountable for the actions of a co-conspirator if their criminal actions stemmed from the conspiracy, officials said.

Another bystander was also hurt and later recovered from their injuries, records show.

Robinson is set to be sentenced on Nov. 1 in Waterbury Superior Court.