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November 8, 2016

Remarkable new Ohio murder charge for old beating that brings up lots of "classic" issues

Though we are technically done with the homicide unit, I just saw this new local story of a notable new Ohio murder prosecution.  The story is headlined "Man charged with murder after beating son a decade ago," and here are the sad (and legally interesting) details:

Almost 10 years have passed since Michael Robinson beat his infant son nearly to death — the injuries to the child’s brain so profound that Dana Robinson lived a life filled with medical complications and chronic pain before he died in his bed at the age of 9 last year.

But now Michael Robinson has been charged with murder.

A Logan County grand jury indicted Robinson, 52, this morning. He’s in the Allen Correctional Institution in Lima, serving a 14-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2008 to charges of felonious assault, endangering children and domestic violence in connection with Dana’s beating at the family’s Bellefontaine home in February 2007. He now faces up to life in prison.

Eric Stewart, chief assistant prosecutor in Logan County, said that after Dana died in his sleep Nov. 13, 2015, detectives requested an autopsy. The Montgomery County coroner said that Dana, who had been left a paraplegic with cerebral palsy, died of complications from his severe brain trauma.

No date for Michael Robinson’s arraignment on this new charge in Logan County Common Pleas Court has yet been set.

Dana’s was a life that The Dispatch chronicled, first because local investigators said it was the worst case of child abuse they’d ever seen. Dana had been systematically tortured since birth: shaken, squeezed, smacked, pricked with pins and pinched. Michael Robinson had hurt his older sons before, and said in court that he was only trying to “toughen them up.” As doctors once testified about Dana’s injuries in court,  Michael rolled his eyes.

November 8, 2016 in Notable real cases | Permalink


This particular case hits home because of the status of the victim. A child, who presumably was too young to know right from wrong, was given brain damage by his abusive father. Even after attempting to step back and view the situation in a light most favorable to the defendant, I find no mercy or feelings of empathy in my heart for him. He put his son in a paraplegic brain damaged state which plagued the son until his death. To say that the father was a cause of the son's death is an understatement. In society we share these notions of retributive and utilitarian justice. In this situation, it becomes unclear as to whether the father could ever rectify the cruel injustice he delivered upon his son. It is unclear whether the criminal justice system will be able to rectify the cruel injustice. The father clearly shows no remorse for his actions. To torture a child until death, and then justify it with the notion of "toughing him up" is a state of mind that defies reason. For a crime such as this, there is no statute of limitations, and there is no silver lining. The child is dead, and yet, the father lives. A cruel irony, and a most unfortunate fate. Yet, I do believe the father deserved to be sentenced, despite the potential issues in the causal chain, and the significant amount of elapsed time from the commission of the offense to the death. Nevertheless, we are all human, and perhaps my moral compass has been compromised in light of a child's dead body. But, something inside me tells me that this is no subjective matter. The man who is capable of doing an act such as this epitomizes the very darkness which would dampen the light we so desperately need in this world, and if it were up to me, God would have to show more mercy to this man's soul than I would.

Posted by: Matt C | Nov 10, 2016 8:26:21 AM

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