Skip to comments.Federal Grand Jury Indicts CONVICTED Serial Killer [Robinson Faces Death Penalty - AGAIN]
Posted on 03/02/2006 4:59:43 PM PST by Former Military Chick
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A convicted serial killer is facing the death penalty again.
Wednesday, a federal grand jury in Kansas City indicted 62-year-old John E. Robinson in the death of Suzette Trouten.
Robinson is on hold for lethal injection in Kansas. He was convicted in Trouten's murder in Kansas state court and he received the death penalty. But the statute used to convict Robinson was struck down by the Kansas Supreme Court in December 2004.
Now, federal prosecutors are taking on the case.
"Justice demands the ultimate penalty for the ultimate crime, and in this district, we're going to hold the worst criminals accountable for their crimes," U.S. Attorney Todd Graves said.
The federal indictment alleges that Robinson lured Trouten, 27, to come from Michigan through Missouri to Kansas.
Authorities said that Robinson passed himself off as a wealthy businessman who wanted to hire Trouten to look after his elderly father.
The indictment says Robinson committed the alleged kidnapping for the purpose of holding Trouten for his sexual gratification by sadistic sexual abuse, resulting in her death.
Robinson has been convicted of murder in both Kansas and Missouri -- eight women in all. In two of the cases, including Trouten, Robinson received the death penalty. Trouten is one of five women whose bodies were found in barrels.
Robinson could be subject to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole, or death. A formal decision has not yet been made whether to seek the death penalty.
However, if the U.S. Supreme Court reinstates the death penalty in Kansas, the federal prosecutor said the new case might be dismissed.
"If the death penalty goes forward in the state of Kansas, that would absolutely be a factor that would be considered in whether to take the time and the resources and the commitment to follow through on this case as a death penalty," Graves said.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Kansas law within six months.
Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison prosecuted three of the Robinson murder cases. Morrison thinks there is a good chance Robinson will be executed in Kansas, making federal prosecution unnecessary.
"We might be looking at it as a waste of time, but if the Kansas death penalty does fall, we might be looking at is as a good thing," Morrison said.
Relatives of Trouten said they want Robinson put to death.
"I think they should go ahead. If Kansas can't do it, then I guess they have to go federal," a relative of Trouten said.
Family members said if at all possible, they'd like to avoid the trauma of another trial.
No date is set for Robinson's first appearance in federal court.
Robinson 59, has already been convicted of three murders in Kansas and faces the death penalty. But when three bodies were found in barrels in Raymore, Mo., he was charged with those murders as well.
The bodies were later identified as those of Sheila Faith, her daughter Debbie Faith and Beverly Bonner.
Robinson avoided trial and a possible death sentence in Missouri by admitting that he killed the three females whose bodies were found in the Raymore storage locker and two others whose bodies have never been found.
Wearing a suit and tie, Robinson stood before Circuit Judge Joseph Dandurand and replied matter-of-factly to questions about the murders.
Robinson, of Olathe, Kan., had been charged with first-degree murder in three of the Missouri killings. But Cass County Prosecutor Chris Koster had said he would be willing to drop his pursuit of a death sentence if Robinson were cooperative in clearing up two other cases dating to the 1980s.
In his pleas Thursday, Robinson admitted that he killed Bonner, 49, of Cameron, Mo., and Sheila Faith, 45, and her paraplegic daughter, both formerly of California.
Their bodies were discovered in 55-gallon drums in the Raymore storage locker on June 5, 2000 -- two days after authorities dug up two larger barrels containing women's bodies on rural property Robinson owned just over the state line in Linn County, Kan.
Dandurand said he accepted Robinson's plea because "it is time for these victims to get some peace."
"This is a reasonable plea agreement recommendation made by the state because it saves these victims from any further turmoil. And had they not all unanimously advised the prosecutor that they were in support of this arrangement, I can tell you it wouldn't have happened here today," the judge said.
Robinson also admitted Thursday that he killed Paula Godfrey, of Olathe, who disappeared in 1984 when she was 19, and Catherine Clampitt, who had moved from Texas to Johnson County and was working for Robinson when she disappeared at age 27. She was last seen by her family in 1987.
No charges had ever been filed in the disappearances of Godfrey and Clampitt.
Robinson told Dandurand that he met Godfrey at the Belton Inn, argued with her over $800 she owed him, and then struck and killed her with a lamp, Breit reported. Robinson said an acquaintance, who is now dead, disposed of the body. Robinson told the court he killed Clampitt by striking her on the head with a bat at an apartment in Belton, Mo. The convicted killer again said a different acquantaince -- identified only as G.T. -- disposed of the body.
Koster said his office is investigating Robinson's claims.
"We do have an idea who G.T. is, we are going to investigate that immediately. But I have to be up front and admit that the best evidence we have against G.T. is John Robinson, which is pretty poor evidence," Koster said.
The prosecutor said he has considered that Robinson might be falsifying the truth in order to avoid the death penalty in Missouri.
"I believe that we are close to the correct version of events. I can't swear that this is gospel, what we have, but I do believe that the important test of credibility is whether we could convict John Robinson of five homicides in the state of Missouri. And I believe unquestionably that the answer to that is 'yes,'" Koster said.
The prosecutor added that he spent months trying to get Robinson to say where the bodies of Clampett and Godfrey are.
"Rightly or wrongly, I came to the conclusion about four weeks ago that the remains were unrecoverable, and in all likelyhood would never be found," he said.
Godfrey's father spoke in court after Robinson entered his guilty plea.
"Your honor, it's my wish that John Robinson spend the rest of his life in prison (with) no parole, no special treatment. I want him to think every day of the heartache he has caused our family, and all the other families involved," Bill Godfrey said.
Authorities in both states have said that Robinson -- whose criminal record of theft, embezzlement and other offenses dates to 1969 -- lured some of his victims to northeastern Kansas with promises of work or sadomasochistic sex.
The Johnson County jury that tried the Kansas case last year sat through three weeks of often lurid, grisly testimony before convicting him of murdering Suzette Trouten, 27, and Izabela Lewicka, 21, whose bodies were found in barrels on the Linn County property, and Lisa Stasi, 19, whose remains have never been found.
Comment 1 provides background.
Frankly I am so glad there is yet another chance for justice to be served. His crimes, well death would be to easy .... imho
Seems like they don't need a trial, he's confessed. Just hang him from the nearest tree.
Twice a week for over a year I drove past those storage units never dreaming something so horrible washidden there. Lethal injection is too good for him. Make the punishment fit the crime.
He's been convicted in two states and will never be a free man again. This is none of the federal government's business.
This story is like reading about that event again.
Former Military Chick, could you please take me off this ping list? Thanks.
I'm confused about the feds getting involved.
The feds are trying this scumbag for the same crime. How is this NOT double jeopardy?
Could you please remove me from this ping list? Thanks
Dual sovereignty. A person can't be tried twice by the same sovereign. The U.S. and Kansas are separate sovereigns with separate laws, so both can prosecute. Say a kidnap/murder occurs across two states. Either or both states could prosecute, plus the feds could prosecute under federal law too.
kiddng of course