The Richmond Register

Crime

August 20, 2013

Jury finds man guilty of burglarizing Berea businesses

MADISON COUNTY — A Madison County jury found 41-year-old William T. Robinson guilty Tuesday of burglarizing two Berea businesses in January 2012.

The jury recommended Robinson serve one year in prison for each of the third-degree burglary charges. The jury also determined that the sentences should be served concurrently, or at the same time, for a total of one year in prison.

One year was the minimum sentence Robinson could have received.

Earlier this year, Robinson had accepted a plea deal and admitted the state had enough evidence to convict him of the burglaries of Advanced Animal Care and OneMain Financial on Pauline Drive.

Both businesses were burglarized and ransacked around midnight Jan. 21, 2012 and a total of $600 was stolen from the businesses. Two laptops also were taken from the clinic.

However, at a later sentencing hearing, Robinson asked Judge Jean C. Logue to withdraw his guilty plea and said he wanted a trial.

Robinson will be eligible for parole after serving 15 percent, or two months, of his sentence.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Smith asked the jury during the penalty phase to sentence Robinson to the maximum, 10 years, so he would have to serve two years in prison before becoming parole-eligible.

Video footage evidence

On the night of the burglaries, a 19-second clip of the intruder was captured on a security camera at the veterinary clinic. Berea police posted photos from the video on the agency’s Facebook page and soon received an anonymous tip that Robinson may have been the culprit.

Capt. Ken Clark and Lt. Danny Brewer testified Monday they interviewed Robinson at the Berea police department Jan. 30, 2012. When Robinson was shown a photo from the surveillance footage of the intruder, he reportedly said, “That’s me and it looks like I’m at Chester’s.” (Robinson was referring to a truck stop in Berea.)

Smith based the majority of his case around Robinson’s self-identification as the burglar on the video.

Robinson’s defense attorney Alex Rowady argued that no real physical evidence, like fingerprints or DNA, linked his client to the scene of the burglaries. The stolen property also never was found, and Robinson’s statement to the police was not taped.

Robinson also claimed he was miles away from Berea that night. The sole witness for the defense, Angie Hatton, testified Tuesday morning that she and her husband played video poker with Robinson from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. at a truck stop in Livingston.

However, Smith pointed out to the jury that Hatton said she had seen Robinson at the Livingston truck stop the Friday prior to his arrest. Robinson was arrested Jan. 30, and the Friday prior to that would’ve been Jan. 27.

The burglaries occurred around midnight Jan. 21, Smith said.

The jury met for about three hours before reaching a verdict. At one point in the deliberations, the jury sent a note to the judge, asking what would happen next if the jury could not come to a unanimous decision.

However, about an hour later, the jury returned with guilty verdicts on both counts of third-degree burglary. Robinson wept after the verdict was read, as did several family members in the audience.

Robinson, who had been free on bond, was taken into custody in the courtroom. His sentencing is set for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 3.

(Note: The defendant is not related to Bill Robinson, Richmond Register editor.)

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

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