Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John E. Robinson, Sr.: The Slavemaster


Over the Easter holiday, thanks to funds Robinson had wired to her, Vickie came to Overland Park for a rendezvous with the Slavemaster. As police listened in the next room, Vicki and Robinson engaged in rough sex play.

It was during this weekend encounter with Vicki that Robinson made the mistakes that would eventually lead to eight murder convictions and two death sentences. The killer who looked more milquetoast than master was more brutal and cruel than Vicki was willing to accept. Robinson forced her into sex acts Vickie did not want to do, took photos when she was tied up despite her explicit instructions not to, and slapped her much harder than she expected. These acts constituted sexual battery, but he wasn't finished yet. Robinson left her penniless and alone in a strange city for several days before returning. When he came back, he dismissed Vickie and ordered her to return to Texas to await further instructions. John sent her on her way, but kept the $700 worth of S&M toys and props she brought with her.

Robinson repeated this same scenario with another vulnerable woman he lured to his lair. Jeanna, an unemployed accountant also from Texas, came to Kansas City by bus, ready to begin work as Robinson's executive assistant for his hydroponics business. He put her up in the same hotel from whence he had banished Vickie and left her alone to wonder about her fate for several days. Returning, he savagely beat her when she failed to assume a position naked in the corner of the room when he appeared. Then he had sex with her.

Like Vicki, Jeanna was not interested in extreme physical pain or photography, but that didn't matter to John. He took his liberties with her, then photographed the bruises on her body. Following the same pattern as before, he gave Jeanna $100 and sent her home, ordering her to put her possessions in storage and then return to Overland Park. She followed his orders, but when she returned to Kansas, Robinson continued to play too rough and abandoned her in the motel. She realized his promises had been empty, and destitute, was at his mercy.

In fear, she contacted police. Members of the 30-man Robinson task force removed her from the motel and went to Johnson County prosecutor Paul Morrison, hoping that he would now issue a warrant for Robinson's arrest. Morrison was eager to get Robinson off the streets and the Internet, but he wanted to make sure the case was solid. There was enough evidence to charge Robinson with sexual battery for his assaults on Jeanna (they did not know at the time the extent of the encounter with Vickie), but Morrison wanted to close the unsolved murders, too.

Ironically, it was Robinson who forced his hand. He had been seducing a Tennessee woman who was very close to agreeing to become his slave. When John convinced her to come to Kansas City with her 8-year-old daughter and to bring the title to her car, Morrison agreed that under no circumstances would authorities allow Robinson anywhere near the woman and her child. When officers tracked down Vickie and she agreed to file complaints for the stolen sex toys and the sexual battery, Morrison said it was time to prepare the arrest warrant.

Trailer home, investigation
Trailer home, investigation

On June 2, 2000, officers from the task force descended on Robinson's mobile home and arrested the Slavemaster. They were carrying search warrants for his trailer and for his desolate ranch, about 30 miles away in La Cygne. Robinson remained unperturbed until police started describing the surveillance they had conducted. They mentioned Vicki and Jeanna, and Robinson began to sweat. When they told him of the evidence they had connecting him to Stasi and Trouten, he went pale.

Robinson, who survived by his ability to talk his way out of anything, had nothing left to say. But the murderous bunko artist still had some surprises hidden away.

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