Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John E. Robinson, Sr.: The Slavemaster

The Trial

It would be more than a year before John Robinson faced a jury in Kansas. By this time the case had attracted world-wide attention and Robinson was termed the first Internet serial killer. With elements of kinky sex and infidelity, the trial was a lurid affair. Carolyn Trouten was forced to come to terms with her daughter's unusual sex life on the stand and jurors were subjected to a 40-minute videotape of Trouten and Robinson engaging in sadomasochistic sex. The jurors were confronted with solid evidence of Robinson's guilt and the defense team could only point out that there was no physical evidence except a few fingerprints to link Robinson with anything connected to the bodies.

The jury also heard from Don Robinson, who testified about how his daughter was delivered to him by his brother, as well as from the notary public, the judge and two lawyers who said their signatures on her adoption papers had been forged. DNA tests linked saliva on the seals of letters sent to Carolyn Trouten by Robinson, a criminologist testified, and Lewicka's blood was found in the trailer in La Cygne and on a roll of duct tape. Suzette Trouten's hair was found in the trailer, and maids at the motel where she was staying testified that the amount of blood on the bed sheets in her room was much more than they had ever encountered when cleaning.

Even Suzette's prized Pekinese dogs became evidence in the case when a veterinarian testified that Robinson had dropped the two dogs off for boarding. The dogs were later abandoned in the mobile home park where John lived and later adopted from the humane society.

Izabela Lewicka's mother told the court how she had given her daughter some distinctive bed sheets with a pattern identical to a pillowcase that ended up in the barrel containing Trouten's body. A former lover of Robinson's testified that he had given her similar sheets, but that she didn't recall there being any pillowcases.

Nancy Robinson talked of her husband's philandering and how several times she wanted to divorce him, but reconsidered because of the children. More than 100 witnesses would testify for the prosecution in the three-week trial, and in light of the overwhelming evidence, the jury didn't take much time to bring back three guilty verdicts.

John Edward Robinson Sr in jail
John Edward Robinson Sr in jail

In the penalty phase of the trial, Robinson's family asked the jury to spare his life, but when jurors announced they had reached a decision about his punishment, none of John Robinson's family was there to hear it. In January, 2003, Judge John Anderson III, sentenced Robinson to death two times and handed down a life sentence for Lisa Stasi's killing.

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