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City man pleads guilty to pair of theft charges

May 23, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown man with a first-grade education pleaded guilty in Washington County Circuit Court Tuesday to two counts of felony theft.

Otho Wayne Robinson, 48, of 12463 Gateway Drive, was charged with helping to steal tools from Shiffler Equipment Corp. and trying to sell them in July 2002.

Prosecutors have indefinitely postponed prosecution of a July 2002 murder charge filed against Robinson in a separate case.

Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone on Tuesday sentenced Robinson to 15 years in prison on each of the two counts of theft, but suspended the second sentence.

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Boone also ordered Robinson to be on unsupervised probation for three years after his release and entered a judgment for restitution of $21,954, although no details of repayment were worked out.

Otho Robinson and his cousin, Robert Steven Robinson, of the same address, were charged last July with first-degree murder and other charges in the beating death of John R. Ward, 87, at Ward's Huyett Lane home.

Robert Robinson, also charged in the Shiffler thefts, is scheduled to stand trial in July on the murder charge. He was being held without bond in the Washington County Detention Center.

Otho Robinson's murder charge was placed on an inactive docket in August 2002, according to Washington County District Court records. Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Robert Veil said Wednesday, however, that Otho Robinson was subject to being re-charged.

In the Shiffler case, Otho Robinson originally faced 17 charges including multiple burglary, theft and auto theft charges, but prosecutors dropped all but two theft charges as part of the plea agreement.

Veil said in court Tuesday that Washington County Sheriff's investigators were called in the early hours of July 1, 2002, to Shiffler Equipment Corp. near Hagerstown.

Using fingerprints, investigators linked the Robinsons to a Shiffler pickup truck used to haul the equipment and tools from inside the business and personal lockers, Veil said in court. The missing items, valued at $21,954, were not recovered, Veil said.

Veil said employees at a nearby Sheetz said they saw men attempting to sell items from a truck that investigators later said was the Shiffler truck.

Veil told Boone that Otho Robinson had been convicted of several misdemeanor and felony crimes in Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.

Otho Robinson did not make a statement before he was sentenced.

His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Mary Drawbaugh, asked Boone to consider that he could not read or write, had a first-grade education and held "odd jobs."

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