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
  • 2-11 Mangan.jpeg Man indicted in I-75 wreck that killed two

    A man who police believe started the chain of events that led to the deaths of two people on Interstate 75 in February was indicted on several felony charges Wednesday in Madison Circuit Court.
    Bryan M. Mangan, 56, of South Bend, Ind., was indicted on six counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, tampering with physical evidence and operating on a suspended license.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Man charged with reselling employer’s equipment

    A man who worked for a local satellite TV company has been charged with ordering extra equipment and selling it online.
    Charles William Hensley, 39, of Manchester, worked for the Multiband Corporation at its Richmond office, according to a Richmond police report.
    Multiband maintains DIRECTV’s installations, service and upgrades for single-family homes in 20 states and commercial sites nationwide.

    April 24, 2014

  • Third student charged in dorm room robbery

    A third person, originally thought to be a robbery victim, was charged Wednesday in connection with an armed robbery that occurred March 30 on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-23 Peter Crowe.jpg Intoxicated man charged with wanton endangerment

    A 27-year-old Richmond man was charged Sunday with second-degree wanton endangerment after he was found intoxicated and walking with several young children in the Keystone Drive area, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pot throwing downtown leads to arrest

    A Berea man was arrested Saturday after police say he damaged a downtown Richmond business and a parked vehicle by throwing flower pots.
    Jonathan A. McCullough, 34, was charged with first- and third-degree criminal mischief as well as alcohol intoxication, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 21, 2014

  • London police chief ordered to stay away from Berea woman

    A woman who who moved to Berea in February 2013 after a live-in relationship with London Police Chief Stewart O. Walker has obtained an emergency protective order against him from Madison Family Court.

    April 21, 2014

  • 4-19 Brian Smith.jpg Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts

    A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.

    Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Gregory Powell.jpg Police apprehend burglary suspect

    An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • CCDW instructor indicted on charges of failing to provide training

    A Madison County grand jury has indicted a carry-concealed weapons permit instructor on charges he falsely claimed to have provided instruction to one person for a CCDW permit and provided incomplete training to three others.
    Christopher D. Fins was indicted April 9 on one count of CCDW instructor not providing firearms training and three counts of providing incomplete firearms training.
    Fins faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of all four felony charges.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sixth person charged in motel meth bust

    A sixth person has been charged in connection with a methamphetamine-making operation discovered last week at the Bel Air Motel in Richmond.
    Roger M. Million, 24, Moberly Road, was charged Wednesday with manufacturing methamphetamine.

    April 17, 2014

AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results