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Archive for Friday, July 21, 2000

Robinson’s attorneys want closed hearing

July 21, 2000

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— Attorneys for suspected serial killer John E. Robinson Sr. have asked that his preliminary hearing be closed to the public and the media.

In one of a dozen motions filed in Johnson County District Court, defense lawyers said they expect intense media coverage, which they argue would make it impossible for Robinson to receive a fair trial in Kansas.

Robinson, 56, is charged with two counts of capital murder in Kansas and three counts of first-degree murder in Missouri in the deaths of five women found in barrels in June.

Robinson's Kansas preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 2. He is being held on $5 million bond.

The defense motion filed Tuesday cites court rules that allow a hearing to be closed if there would be a "clear and present danger to fairness" of the trial.

Several attorneys in Johnson County said they could not recall a time when a preliminary hearing was closed to the public.

Ron Evans, head of the death penalty defense unit representing Robinson, said he could not comment on the motions. Johnson County Dist. Atty. Paul Morrison also would not comment.

Most of the defense motions have to do with preserving evidence and limiting what information about the case will be made public before a trial.

A hearing date on the motions is tentatively set for Aug. 23.

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