(NewsNation) — The death of a North Carolina woman in Mexico remains an open case, but a civil rights activist working with the family of Shanquella Robinson believes she was killed because of “jealousy.”
Robinson, 25, died in October while on a trip to a Cabo San Lucas resort with six friends. Her family says they claim she died of alcohol poisoning, but her death certificate lists severe spinal cord damage as the cause of death.
John C. Barnett, a civil rights activist, was part of a rally held in February demanding more information into Robinson’s death. Protesters filled pink envelopes with letters to the Mexican government asking them to take action.
“What you’re looking at is like a Jesus and Judas situation, some jealous friends,” Barnett said Thursday on “CUOMO.” “She paid for the majority of the trip from my understanding. She booked the villa and wanted her six friends to go and celebrate with her.”
Robinson and her friends had rented a villa to celebrate a birthday and supposedly didn’t go out the night she died. The section of the death certificate where police could have noted any sign of intoxication only said “person found unconscious in her living room.”
A video that surfaced after Robinson’s death purportedly shows her being beaten in what appears to be a hotel room. She is punched numerous times in the face and head before being thrown to the ground by her neck. She is then punched and kicked a few more times.
Jennifer Coffindaffer, a retired FBI agent, says the video shows Robinson’s death was clearly a homicide.
“I would call it for sure a manslaughter; (that) would be the charges I would be looking at as an FBI agent,” Coffindaffer said. “We don’t know whether the intent or purpose was to kill her, but certainly the intent was to beat her.”
An arrest warrant has been issued for one of the friends, NewsNation affiliate WJZY-TV reported, though the name of that person has not been made public.
The issue now, Coffindaffer said, will be extradition. She said instead of a trial on foreign land, the United States typically prefers criminal cases be handled domestically and has federal statutes that allow for charges to be filed even if a crime occurs in another country.
Barnett and the Robinson family’s attorney are pushing for the Justice Department to do just that. The family is now requesting a “diplomatic intervention” in the case, calling on the Biden administration to take action.
“I want (to tell) President Joe Biden … I want Shanquella to be considered as your daughter, and what would you do if your daughter was beat like this?” Barnett said. “I’ve been screaming Black lives matter for the last 17 years of my life. Now I’m screaming Black lives matter in Mexico, and it needs to end today.”
NewsNation affiliate WJZY-TV contributed to this report.