The Richmond Register

Crime

August 19, 2013

Burglary trial hinges on surveillance video evidence

Defendant pleaded guilty, but later withdrew plea

RICHMOND — The trial of a man accused of burglarizing a Berea animal clinic and finance office began Monday with his defense attorney asserting that 41-year-old William T. Robinson was miles away from the city when the crimes occurred.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Smith, however, called it a “fairly simple case” during his opening statement. Smith told the jury that Robinson admitted during a police interview he was the man shown on the clinic’s surveillance video from the night of the break-ins.

Robinson is charged with two counts of third-degree burglary. The incidents occurred around midnight Jan. 22, 2012.

Advanced Animal Care and OneMain Financial, which are adjacent businesses in a Pauline Drive shopping center, were both ransacked and had cash stolen. The vet clinic also had checks and two computers taken. Damage was done to both offices.

The cash taken from both businesses totaled about $600, according to testimony Monday from Advanced Animal Care office manager John Martin and OneMain Financial manager LaDonna O’Bryan.

In a twist to the case, Robinson had accepted a deal in the case and pleaded guilty to both burglary counts earlier this year in Madison Circuit Court, admitting the state had enough evidence to convict him. Smith recommended a sentence of one year in prison on each charge to be served concurrently for a total of one year.

However, at his later sentencing hearing, Robinson asked to take back the guilty plea and go to trial. The move is highly unusual, but Judge Jean C. Logue granted his request and set a trial date.

If Robinson is convicted on one or both burglary counts by the jury, he faces a sentencing range of one to 10 years in prison.

Officers testify about investigation, arrest

One of the key pieces of evidence in the case against Robinson is a 19-second video clip of a man entering Advanced Animal Care through the back door and walking through the office the night of the thefts. Martin gave copies of the footage along with still photos from the video to Berea police.

BPD Capt. Ken Clark testified that some of the photos from the video were posted on the department’s Facebook page to generate leads from the public.

Clark was not allowed to tell the jury about a tip the department received that named Robinson as a possible suspect. Logue ruled at an earlier evidence-suppression hearing that testimony about the tip could not be presented at trial.

Clark told the jury that about a week after posting the photos on Facebook, he and Lt. Danny Brewer drove to Richmond to track down Robinson, who both officers described as a “person of interest” in the burglaries.

The BPD officers found a friend of Robinson’s, and they informed the friend they wanted to talk to Robinson. Before the officers returned to Berea, they received a call from Robinson, and he was waiting for them at the police station when they arrived, according to the officers’ testimony.

Clark testified that he told Robinson that his name “had come up” in connection with burglaries in Berea. The officers first showed Robinson a printed copy of a still photo from the surveillance video, and Robinson said he wasn’t sure who it was. Clark told Robinson it might be clearer if he pulled the photo up on a computer screen.

When Robinson saw the same picture on the computer, he said “That’s me, it looks like I’m at Chester’s,” Clark told the jury (Chester’s is a Berea truck stop.).

Based on that alleged admission, Robinson was arrested and charged with the burglaries.

However, under cross-examination by defense attorney Alex Rowady, Clark admitted that none of the missing items – the computers, cash or checks – were ever recovered either on Robinson’s person, in his vehicle or house, or at a pawn shop.

Clark said a search warrant was never obtained for Robinson’s vehicle or house.

“I doubt very seriously I could’ve gotten (a search warrant),” Clark said.

Clark went on to explain that Robinson’s house was in foreclosure, and he was in the middle of a divorce, so they were unsure what location to obtain a search warrant for.

Rowady also confirmed with Clark, and later when Brewer testified, that no physical evidence such as DNA or fingerprints were collected at the burglarized businesses.

Finally, Rowady pointed out that Robinson’s alleged statement identifying himself in the surveillance photo was not recorded. Brewer confirmed this, stating he and Clark had brought Robinson in for a “person-of-interest” interview, not a suspect interrogation, so they did not tape his initial statement.

The trial continues Tuesday starting at 9 a.m. in Madison Circuit Court. Witness testimony is expected to conclude tomorrow.

(Note: The defendant is unrelated to Bill Robinson, Richmond Register editor.)

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

1
Text Only
Crime
  • 4-16 Lisa Begley.jpg Police: Woman drove through storage business gate

    Richmond police arrested a Lexington woman Monday night after the property manager at Main Street Storage said she repeatedly drove her vehicle into a gate and fence at the 455 E. Main St. business.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • $250,000 wrecker stolen

    A representative of Barger’s Wrecking Service, North Porter Drive, reported to Richmond police Sunday that a black, 1996 Peterbilt wrecker with company logos on it was stolen from the business’ parking lot. The wrecker is valued at $250,000, according to the police report.

    April 15, 2014

  • Man involved in double slaying dies in prison

    A Richmond man who pleaded guilty in 2009 to participating in a double slaying in Lincoln County died in prison Monday.

    Neccolus Mundy, 32, died less than a week after being found unresponsive in his cell at Northpoint Training Center, according to The Associated Press.

    April 11, 2014

  • Two charged with prostitution and indecent exposure

    Two people were charged Wednesday evening after they were observed engaging in sexual activity related to prostitution in public, according to Richmond police.

    April 10, 2014

  • 4-10 Eric Cromer.jpg Man charged with intimidating witness in court case

    A Rice Court man was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly threatened the former owner of a pet that his dog killed in February, according to the Richmond police.
    Eric S. Comer, 42, was charged with intimidating a participant in a legal process and third-degree terroristic threatening.
    Cromer was served March 16 with a summons to appear in court to answer a complaint charging him with harboring a vicious animal, according to the police report.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • BPD: Man burglarized wedding shop

    A Richmond man was charged April 3 with burglarizing a business owned by his former employer.
    Steven McKinney, 20, was charged with third-degree burglary and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.
    Berea officers were called to Jobee’s Wedding Shop on Richmond Road after receiving a report of a burglary. The business owner told police a man had entered through the back door early that morning and attempted to get into the safe. He left without taking anything, the owner told police. She also told police she recognized the man as McKinney from surveillance video footage.

    April 9, 2014

  • 4-10 Meth bust.jpg Five charged in Bel Air Motel meth bust

    A methamphetamine lab bust at the Bel Air Motel in Richmond led to the arrest Wednesday morning of five people.

    April 9, 2014 6 Photos

  • RPD: Man assaulted, stalked wife

    A Hawthorne Drive man was charged Monday with stalking and assault following a domestic violence incident.
    Richmond police also charged Jason A. Cole, 30, Hawthorne Drive,with third-degree terroristic threatening and violation of a Kentucky domestic violence order.

    April 8, 2014

  • 4-8 Hank SpicerWEB.jpg Man charged with striking woman in head with bottle

    An Irvine man was charged with felony assault Saturday after police say he hit a woman in the head with a beer bottle the previous day.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Richmond business owner pleads guilty to trafficking

    A Richmond business owner pleaded guilty Thursday to receiving a package of marijuana at his downtown tailor shop as part of a drug-selling scheme.
    Darryl Ballard pleaded guilty to a charge of trafficking in marijuana (less than 5 pounds). Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith recommended  a sentence of three years in prison diverted for two years provided Ballard has no further violations of law.

    April 6, 2014

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the Richmond City Commission stop rezoning property to allow construction of apartments?

Yes.
No
     View Results