AFFIDAVIT: Aurora apartment shootout saga weaves robbery, sex and Facebook

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AURORA | A man who was robbed at gunpoint in his Aurora apartment last week was set up by a woman he was trying to have sex with, according to court documents obtained by The Sentinel

Aurora resident Robert Royston, 40, was awakened by two masked men kicking his feet and asking “Where’s the s**t?” around 2:30 a.m. Jan. 18, according to an arrest affidavit filed in Arapahoe County District Court.

Cubanicqua Lawrence

Earlier in the evening, Royston had met an acquaintance, 23-year-old Cubanicqua Lawrence, at her family’s Denver home before driving to his apartment on South Rifle Way. There, the two smoked a marijuana blunt and drank Hennessy brandy, according to the affidavit.

Royston eventually fell asleep in his bedroom as Lawrence, who Royston referred to as “QB,” gave him a back rub, according to court documents. The two were not previously romantically involved, though they had been contacting each other for about a month, Royston told investigators. 

“(Royston) stated (Lawrence) never took her clothes off … he had never had sex with her before, they had previously only talked, but he was hoping to have sex with her on this night,” according to the affidavit. 

Marcus Smith

A short time later, Royston awoke to two masked men kicking his legs and pointing guns at him. He said Lawrence was standing behind the two men apparently searching for something. 

Royston then told the men he had a safe in his closet, though it only contained a wrist watch and a pair of earrings. One of the men then grabbed the safe and left. 

The remaining masked man continued to hold Royston at gunpoint before growing agitated and firing two shots at him. Both shots missed. Royston then grabbed a handgun from his nightstand and returned three or four shots, striking the man in the head. 

Royston then banged on his wall, encouraging a neighbor to call the police. A man living next door to Royston, 53-year-old Gagak Abraamyan, did so.

Police later identified the two intruders as Marcus Smith and Leandre Roberts, both 25. 

Roberts, who was the only person shot and wounded during the ordeal, was reported to be in critical but stable condition at an area hospital, police said shortly after the shooting. He was reportedly placed in a medically induced coma, according to court documents. 

Because Royston only knew Lawrence by her Facebook name, Hennessy Red, investigators identified her by combing her recent Facebook photos and posts. They confirmed her identity by running one of her Facebook photos through a law enforcement database that uses facial recognition software. The system provided a 90-percent match to Lawrence, according to the affidavit.

Police later found Lawrence at a Lakewood apartment and arrested her on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court and assault. Police also contacted Smith in the residence, who was brought to Lakewood police headquarters for questioning. 

Smith later told detectives that Lawrence “wanted to set a male up so she could get money to move,” according to the affidavit. 

Royston later told police that he had previously posted Facebook pictures of himself with large amounts of cash, which Lawrence could have seen because they were friends on the social media platform. 

Lawrence has previously been arrested and summonsed for charges related to larceny and being a runaway, according to court documents.  

Smith admitted to helping Roberts rob Royston, but said Roberts forced him to carry out the crime and threatened to shoot him if he didn’t do so. Upon taking Royston’s stolen safe to his Lakewood home, Smith told police he was unable to get it open. 

Smith has since been charged with 16 separate charges related to robbery and burglary, half of which are felonies, according to court records. The other half of the charges filed against Smith are sentence enhancers and will only be applied if he is found guilty.

Smith is currently being held at the Arapahoe County jail in lieu of posting a $100,000 bond. He’s scheduled to appear in Arapahoe County District Court at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 19.

Lawrence is also being held at the local jail on identical charges. Her bond has been set at $50,000, and she’s slated to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 30.

Police have yet to recommend any charges against Roberts, according to a statewide criminal history database. 

A spokesman for the Aurora Police Department did not immediately know whether Roberts was still hospitalized. 

Records indicate Royston has not been charged with any crimes in connection with the shooting. He was sentenced to prison in 2004 for charges related to drug possession and leaving the scene of an accident, according to state records. 

Anyone with any additional information related to this shooting is encouraged to call Aurora detectives at 303-739-6090, or the Denver Metro Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.

The shooting last Saturday was the second shooting at the Courtyards at Buckley apartment complex in five days. Police arrested a 16-year-old boy in connection with a quintuple shooting at the complex earlier this month.