Olathe A judge said he would appoint an experienced attorney to assist the young lawyer who was hired by serial murder suspect John E. Robinson.
Johnson County Dist. Atty. Paul Morrison had expressed concern that Robinson's decision to hire Bob Thomas, who has practiced for just little more than a year, could lead to a successful appeal if Robinson is convicted of killing three women. Robinson had been represented for more than a year by the Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit.
District Judge John Anderson III on Friday said Robinson was qualified to receive appointed legal assistance.
Based on Robinson's financial resources, the judge said he was convinced that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for Robinson to cover the "enormous" costs, both in time and finances, without additional help.
"This is unusual," he said. "I know it's unusual, but it's necessary."
Robinson, 57, is charged with capital murder in the deaths of two women whose bodies were found in sealed metal barrels on property he owned in Linn County. He is charged with first-degree murder in the death of another woman who disappeared in 1985. That woman's body has not been found.
Anderson said he would be working with the state's Board of Indigent Defense Services to find a lawyer who is qualified to handle the complexities of a death penalty case. Anderson said he hoped to have another lawyer in place by Aug. 9.
Robinson also is accused in neighboring Cass County, Mo., of killing three women whose remains were found in barrels in a Raymore storage locker he had rented.