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Murder case goes to Circuit Court

October 02, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

A Washington County District judge on Tuesday found probable cause to proceed with a first-degree murder case against Robert Steven Robinson, who is accused of stabbing an 87-year-old man to death on June 30.

During a preliminary hearing, Maryland State Police Cpl. Otis Whitaker testified that John Roy Ward of 12205 Huyetts Lane, west of Hagerstown, was stabbed three times in the front torso, eight times in the back and also was beaten. No one else testified.

Visiting District Judge Janice Rodnick Ambrose ruled that there was sufficient evidence to support charges of first-degree murder, first-degree assault, first- and third-degree burglary, robbery and theft over $500.

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Robinson's attorney, Bryon C. Black, argued against allowing Whitaker to testify about fourth-hand information he heard from an unnamed confidential source, but Ambrose overruled his objection.

Black also contended that the prosecution couldn't support the first-degree burglary charge, but again Ambrose disagreed.

Robinson, 42, of 12463 Gateway Ave., Hagerstown, is being held in the Washington County Detention Center. He was in court for the hearing but didn't say anything.

Robinson's brother, Otho Wayne Robinson, 47, also of 12463 Gateway Ave., Hagerstown, faces the same charges in Ward's death. He also was being held at the detention center.

On Aug. 22, a District judge found probable cause for the charges against Otho Robinson to proceed, according to court records.

The cases against both Robinsons will proceed to Circuit Court.

Ward's daughter, Sharon Blickenstaff, found him lying face down on his kitchen floor in a pool of blood at about 6:45 a.m. on July 1, according to charging documents.

Police allege that Robert Robinson stabbed Ward and beat him with a tire iron during a robbery. Otho Robinson didn't want to take part and waited at a Sheetz station for more than an hour until his brother returned, a confidential informant told police, charging documents allege.

Whitaker testified Tuesday that the confidential source was "appalled" when Robert Robinson said he had stabbed someone but didn't get any blood on him, so the source told police.

Black asked Whitaker to name the source, but Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Mark Thomas objected. Ambrose sustained the objection.

Thomas said the state's case is also supported by Robert Robinson's palm print on a beer bottle found in Ward's yard and his fingerprint on a jewelry box in Ward's home. Robinson sold Ward's lawn mower and trimmer and gave away his deer meat, Thomas said.

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