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Crime News Snapped: Killer Couples

“Black Widow” Named “Mastermind” of a Murder After Green Card Marriage Goes Wrong

“They were an explosive couple that each fed off the other and I don’t think the crime would have happened without the passion they had,” defense attorney Kevin McCants said on Snapped: Killer Couples of Shanika Robinson and her boyfriend, who helped to brutally murder her brother-in-law.

By Caitlin Schunn

She was involved in a marriage of convenience — until it all fell apart.

How to Watch

Watch Snapped: Killer Couples on Peacock and the Oxygen App.

26-year-old Shanika Robinson agreed to marry 32-year-old Allauddin Rana in order for him to get a green card and become a U.S. citizen. In exchange, she was paid $500 a week, and had enough money to cover her rent and keep her family in their home. But when she refused to give up her boyfriend, Isiah "Ike" Genus, her brother-in-law threatened to cut her off — causing Robinson to recruit Genus, as well as her brother, Leon, to help her get the money from 44-year-old Shahabuddin Rana by whatever means necessary.

“Shanika had a man that would do anything for her,” Washington D.C. journalist Nicki Mayo said on Snapped: Killer Couples, airing Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen. “He really was infatuated with her and in love with her and mesmerized by her and willing to kill for her. They were driven by their devotion and commitment to each other.”

What happened to Shahabuddin Rana?

On August 18, 2009, around 12:20 p.m., Allauddin Rana ran up to a Metro police officer on patrol in Washington, D.C. and said he thought there’d been a break-in at his family’s business, the Pizza Mart.

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“Immediately when they go inside, they see it’s ransacked,” said ret. Metropolitan Police Department detective Mitch Credle on Snapped: Killer Couples. “It’s chaotic. You can see blood.”

About $2,000 was missing out of the cash register. Cigarettes and other valuables from the store had been stolen. And Shahabuddin Rana was discovered lying face down on the floor of the store, with several stab wounds.

“He’s been beaten,” said ret. Assistant U.S. Attorney in D.C. Deborah Sines on Snapped: Killer Couples. “He’d been kicked. There was blood everywhere. You could tell they’d tried to set fire to his body.”

But police found no forced entry to the store, which indicated Rana knew his attacker.

Shahabuddin Rana Featured in Snapped: Killer Couples Episode 1713

“With robberies of establishments, the goal of the suspects is to get in and get out,” Credle said. “This particular crime scene, it’s obvious a lot was going on for a period of time. It’s not, ‘We go in, we rob, we get out’… Looking at the victim, it’s a crime of passion. It’s personal.”

How did Shahabuddin Rana’s family and background play a role in his murder?

Shahabuddin Rana was a Pakistani immigrant who moved to the U.S. in 1997. He eventually bought the Pizza Mart in Washington, D.C. — and turned it into a landmark business in his neighborhood.

“Achieving the American dream was the ultimate goal,” his daughter, Zeena Anderson, said on Snapped: Killer Couples.

His brother, Allauddin Rana, also came from Pakistan in 2006 to help run the business. As police looked into Allauddin, they discovered he was married to Shanika Robinson — and that the couple was under investigation for marriage fraud.

Robinson, who was a U.S. citizen, lived with her family, including her brother, Leon. After being laid off from the U.S. Postal Service in 2008, she looked for work at the Pizza Mart. She and Allauddin married in October 2008, allowing Allauddin to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. But just nine months into the marriage, the case was flagged after interviews of the couple didn’t add up. Robinson was facing prison time and a fine pending the investigation, and Allauddin faced deportation.

How did police solve the Shahabuddin Rana murder?

Shanika Robinson’s cousin, Shawn, came forward just days into the murder investigation of Shahabuddin Rana. She confirmed authorities’ suspicions that her cousin was involved in a green card marriage.

Shanika Robinson Featured in Snapped: Killer Couples Episode 1713

“She claimed Shahabuddin Rana had approached [Shanika Robinson] with a plan to help his brother remain in this country, and offered her $500 per week to simply conduct a sham marriage,” Kevin McCants, defense attorney for Leon Robinson, said on Snapped: Killer Couples. “Initially, with no intimacy, but simply to go to immigration meetings with his younger brother, and help his younger brother remain in the United States.”

Shawn told police although her cousin agreed to get married, she wouldn’t give up her boyfriend, 25-year-old Isiah "Ike" Genus. Shawn then claimed Robinson and Genus had planned Shahabuddin’s murder.

“She said that Shanika and two other men were at the Pizza Mart the night of his murder,” Credle said. “And the two men were Leon, which was Shanika’s brother, and her boyfriend, Ike.”

When police questioned Shanika Robinson, she admitted to being in a sham marriage and receiving payments for it.

“She tearfully talked about how she’d gotten into this because she’d lost her job at the post office,” Keith Alexander, a reporter at The Washington Post, said on Snapped: Killer Couples. “She said this was a way of survival for her until she was able to get back on her feet. This was only supposed to last for a certain amount of months. Until Mr. Rana was able to get his green card.”

But when the immigration department began investigating if the marriage was real, Shanika alleged her brother-in-law began demanding she consummate her marriage to Allauddin.

“She felt as though that was her being treated like a prostitute,” Credle said. “She began doing that, and it was something she really didn’t want to do. But in order for her to continue to receive the money she had to go along with the plan.”

By May 2009, Allauddin became unhappy with the arrangement, according to Shanika.

“He was complaining to his brother that there were times he wanted to spend quality time with Shanika and he couldn’t do it because Shanika had another boyfriend around her,” McCants said. “Shahabuddin exploded. He was upset and he told Shanika that he would stop the payments immediately unless Shanika cleaned up her act.”

After Shanika and Allauddin’s immigration interview went badly a few months later, Shahabuddin decided to cut her off, Shanika told police.

“She needed that $2,000 a month to pay her rent, otherwise her family would be homeless,” McCants said.

Shanika Robinson claimed that she and Genus went to the Pizza Mart to talk to Shahabuddin about the money and had an argument.

“She blames the murder on Ike, and an unnamed man,” Sines said. “She won’t say it’s her brother. She claims she waits for them outside the store. That they went in the store. She never entered.”

What was "the smoking gun" and crucial evidence during the murder trial?

During a search warrant of Shanika Robinson’s house, police found her diary. In it, Shanika had drawn a sketch of the layout of the Pizza Mart, and written out the goal was to get money — either voluntarily from Shahabuddin Rana, or by force.

“Finding this inside her diary no doubt shows premeditation,” Credle said. “This was planned.”

Isiah Genus broke down and confessed to police in order to get a plea deal. He claimed Shanika plotted the whole encounter, and rehearsed what everyone’s role would be.

“He talked about Shanika being the coordinator and having gloves for everybody,” McCants said.

Genus claimed Shanika’s role was to get Shahabuddin Rana to open the door to the Pizza Mart. He then alleged he and Leon Robinson ambushed and stabbed the store owner, and that later Leon bludgeoned him with a hammer. The trio tried unsuccessfully to burn the body and evidence, and Shanika stole money and valuables from the store.

Leon and Shanika Robinson went on trial as co-defendants in July 2011, with Ike Genus testifying against them. But when testifying, Shanika decided to turn on her brother, and claimed she had no idea what he would do. Both she and her brother were found guilty of murder by the jury.

“[Leon] just sat there just shaking his head, just exasperated, as if he felt as if Shanika, his older sister, literally threw him under the bus,” Alexander said.

As part of his plea deal, Isiah Genus is scheduled for release from prison in 2024. Leon Robinson is scheduled for prison release in 2076. And Shanika is scheduled to be released in 2032.

“When somebody just makes your dad disappear, you don’t necessarily even think the justice system can give you justice…I do think Shanika should have had a harsher sentence because lives were ruined because of her,” Anderson said.

Watch all-new episodes of Snapped: Killer Couples on Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen and the next day on Peacock.