Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Harvey Robinson: Adolescent Serial Killer


Harvey Robinson
Harvey Robinson

Robinson was booked and arraigned on multiple charges, including breaking and entering, burglary, aggravated assault and attempted homicide.  He was held in lieu of $1 million bail.  On September 3, Denise Sam-Cali testified at his hearing that she could identify Robinson as the man who attacked her and she fully described her ordeal.  He was represented by Denise Dickson, and he sat throughout the hearing with a glare on his face.  Other evidence against him included Officer Lewis's identification, a bite mark that Sam-Cali claimed to have made during her assault, black gloves found in his bedroom at his mother's home, and the .380 handgun stolen from the Calis, along with casings that matched those from bullets fired on July 31 in their home.

Dickson claimed that there was nevertheless no proof that Robinson had intended to kill anyone.  In addition, she said that there was no proof that Robinson had entered the home on July 19, though he was in possession of the gun that was taken at that time.  "I can rob a bank six times," she said. "That doesn't mean if the bank is robbed a seventh time I did it."

The police nevertheless worked hard to find evidence for the trials.  They searched two cars, a light blue Ford Tempo GL belonging to his mother, which was similar to the car seen in the neighborhood when Charlotte Schmoyer was abducted, and Robinson's gray Dodge Laser SE.  His blood was in both, indicating that he had driven both at different times on the night of the shootout, after he was cut.  The cars were processed for fingerprints and other evidence.

For his arraignment, Robinson wore a bulletproof vest.  Police had learned that that between the Burghardt and Schmoyer murders, eight months apart, Robinson had been institutionalized for burglary, but had no history of mental illness.  Investigators believed that he had either known his victims or had stalked them in some manner before raping or killing them.  He may have burglarized Burghardt's apartment a few days before he killed her.

In December 1993, just after Robinson turned 19, the papers announced that DNA tests from his blood samples linked him via semen to the three rape/murders and the two rapes.  In addition, his blood and hair were found on Schmoyer, and both the little girl who survived and Denise Sam-Cali identified him as their attacker.  Investigators did not believe he was responsible for any other murders in the area, but Special Agent Dennis Buckley of the F.B.I.'s Allentown office said that he fit the behavior of a serial killer, according to the Bureau's definition.  Three separate victims with a cooling-off period was the norm, and Robinson had likely intended to kill the two survivors.  He had also used the same modus operandi, breaking into a home, choking and bludgeoning the victim, raping her, and leaving her dead or nearly dead.  The child was an aberration, probably due to the fact that Robinson's intended victim — her mother — was with a man.  From what investigators knew of his brash and brutal behavior, apparently precipitated by anger, they believed Robinson would certainly have escalated his violence.


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