Robinson remembered as 'a wonderful man'

October 23, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

HALFWAY - Standing together on Friday morning and occasionally hugging, friends and family remembered Ali Aubae Robinson, who police say was shot and killed in the Halfway home he rented.

Krista Startzman, 35, Robinson's ex-wife, said Robinson "was a wonderful man. He worked hard."

She said that Robinson, who grew up in Waynesboro, Pa., and Hagerstown, had joint custody of the former couple's three sons, one of whom is Robinson's namesake. Robinson took every opportunity to spend time with the boys, ages 6, 7 and 9, whether it was taking them to Playland or Chuck E. Cheese's or practicing football or wrestling.

Robinson's mother, JoAnn Davis, 46, said that Robinson had a daughter, 17-month-old Anaya Robinson, by Carrie Nicole Simmons, his live-in girlfriend.


"He was a very, very good son," Davis said. "He got along with everybody and that's what I don't understand."

Robinson helped coach youth wrestling for the YMCA and a flag football team in a local league, Startzman said.

North High wrestling coach Gregory Slick said that he saw Robinson, who graduated from the high school in 1994, last week at a little league football game and had a casual conversation with him. Robinson, he said, "was the outstanding wrestler on his team" during his senior year at the school.

"I never had any indication that he was in any type of trouble, but I guess he didn't either," Slick said.

He said Robinson was an offensive back and defensive back on the North High varsity football team.

Robinson was a three-time letter winner, a Francis Scott Key Tournament wrestling champion and Hub Cup wrestling tournament champion, and placed first in a regional wrestling tournament for his 160-pound weight class during his senior year, Slick said.

"He was a great kid, he listened and worked hard - he kind of did everything I asked him to do as a coach," he said. "I'm very much surprised at this. I'm shocked."

Robinson played semiprofessional football with the Cumberland Valley Cardinals, whose home games are played in Shippensburg, Pa., and had been in the Army, but already had finished his service, Startzman said.

Antwan Thomas, 27, one of Robinson's best friends, said, "Ali - we were like brothers. He was there no matter what." Thomas said Peter Barnett and Gary Plummer also were Robinson's best friends and that "his friends were right there with him."

A tear streaming down his face, Thomas said, "I'm always gonna be there for him."

Startzman said she wasn't sure how she would tell her three sons about their father's death.

"I'm gonna say a bad man came in and shot your daddy," she said, holding back tears.

Startzman said she teaches her sons about paths, and how "every time you make a decision, it puts you on one path and then another path might put you towards jail," she said.

"Being shot is on a bad path and I don't think they're going to understand it," she said.

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