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Archive for Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Discovery of barrel bodies recounted

October 23, 2002

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— Investigators testified Tuesday about the grisly discovery of three women's bodies inside barrels in June 2000 in a Raymore, Mo., storage locker rented by John E. Robinson Sr.

It was the first physical link to the deaths of the three women in Missouri to Robinson, whose multiple murder trial entered its 12th day in Kansas.

Prosecutors say the Missouri deaths were part of a common pattern or scheme that Robinson carried out on both sides of the state line involving sadomasochistic sex and financial gain.

Two more women's bodies were found in barrels on Robinson's property in Linn County, about 60 miles from Kansas City.

Dr. Thomas Young of the Jackson County, Mo., Medical Examiner's Office said all victims had received multiple blows to their heads. However, Sheila Faith had a broken right forearm, which Young said was consistent with a defensive wound. It is the only body found in either state to have a defensive wound.

Robinson, 58, of Olathe, is awaiting arraignment on capital murder charges in Cass County, Mo., in those three deaths and could face the death penalty. The bodies were found in locker E-2 of the Stor-Mor For Less storage center in Raymore on June 5, 2000, three days after Robinson's arrest in Kansas.

Douglas Borcherding of the Raymore police said officers knew after moving just a few items near the storage locker door that it was not a normal crime scene.

"There was a very foul odor that with my past experience I associated with a dead body," he said.

Kevin Winer, a senior criminologist with Kansas City, Mo., police, said the barrels were found beneath plastic sheeting, a children's swimming pool and other smaller items near the back of the locker.

Under cross examination, Young said the bodies found in Missouri could have been in the barrels for two to eight years, but he said the situation was not a normal crime scene.

"I'm not accustomed to looking at bodies in barrels," he said.

Young said it was difficult to say how quickly the victims died without knowing the timing of the blows to the head, which were consistent with blows possibly caused by a hammer.

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