Archive for Saturday, November 2, 2002

Jurors debate death penalty in barrel murders

November 2, 2002


— Jurors considering a punishment for John E. Robinson Sr., who faces the death penalty for murdering two women and prison for the slaying of a third whose body was never found, finished their first day of deliberations late Friday without reaching a verdict.

The jury was sequestered for the night and was to return at 9 a.m. today to the Johnson County Courthouse to resume its work.

Defense attorney Patrick Berrigan said many unanswered questions remained in the case, which raised concerns that others may be involved with the murders.

After convicting him on two counts of capital murder on Tuesday, jurors were instructed to decide if Robinson should die by lethal injection or be sentenced to a life term for a minimum of 25 to 50 years. In the third death, Robinson was convicted of first-degree murder, which does not qualify for a death sentence in Kansas.

Berrigan reminded jurors that executing Robinson would deny his family contact with a devoted father and grandfather.

"We give mercy to people who don't deserve it. We choose to grant mercy," Berrigan said.

Johnson County Dist. Atty. Paul Morrison argued that Robinson, by virtue of killing six females, denied the victims the "tender mercies" of life that Robinson asks jurors not to take from him.

Morrison noted that the only time Robinson showed any emotion was when his wife testified about his relationship with their granddaughter.

"He cried for himself. That says it all," Morrison said.

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