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Man shot by police marries in hospital

March 16, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Rev. John Faircloth said the ceremony was "awkward," to say the least. For the last 25 years, he had always been in the same room as the couple when he officiated at a wedding.

This wedding was different.

The groom, William Lee "Billy" Robinson, was lying in a hospital bed, having been shot once in the chest by a Martinsburg City Police officer seven days earlier.

Police were standing guard at Robinson's room.

Robinson was shot by police, who alleged they found him in a Housing Authority office in Martinsburg. Police allege he was clutching a long metal bar when two officers encountered him.

So, on March 1, when Robinson, 30, and Brenda Kay Rogers, 32, were married in Robinson's room at City Hospital, the rule was one visitor in the room at a time.

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Faircloth said he stood just across the threshold, about four or five feet from the couple, and performed the 10-minute ceremony - just vows, a prayer and an exchange of rings.

Members of the bride's and groom's families were asked to stay in a waiting room. The only witnesses were a hospital security guard and a police officer, Faircloth said.

The wedding was put together on short notice, Robinson said during a phone interview Wednesday.

"We realized how much we loved each other after I went through what I went through," he said. "I love her with all my heart."

Weddings are rare at City Hospital, according to a nursing supervisor who didn't want to be named. She said the last one she knew of was when she was in training there in the 1940s.

Since he was shot by Martinsburg City Police Officer John Sherman, Robinson has been in intensive care twice. He said he has had his spleen and one of his two kidneys removed.

Robinson said the bullet went through his colon. Bacteria got into his system, forcing a second surgery, he said.

He was listed in satisfactory condition Wednesday.

"I'm still hurt and sore," he said. "I'm in pain every night."

Police allege Robinson broke into and ransacked the Housing Authority office at Ambrose Towers, off Winchester Avenue. They allege he ignored the officers' warning to drop the metal bar.

City police have determined that Sherman acted properly in shooting Robinson. Police said a warrant charging Robinson with breaking and entering has been prepared but not served.

Robinson, who had appeared in court on a previous breaking-and-entering charge the day he was shot, said he won't discuss last month's incident for now.

Before the wedding, Robinson said, he wrote something personal and meaningful for his wife, and read it during the ceremony.

"They seemed like they were happy," Faircloth said.

Faircloth, who lives in Inwood, is the pastor at Full Gospel Pentecostal Church. He said he is friends with Rogers' parents, who asked him to officiate.

When he is well enough to leave the hospital, Robinson said, he hopes to have a bigger ceremony - this time with family and friends included.

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