Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John E. Robinson, Sr.: The Slavemaster


John Robinson was on death row in Kansas, but Missouri was still actively pursuing the three murders that were discovered across the state line. John was more worried about being extradited to stand trial in Missouri, because that state was much more aggressive in using capital punishment than Kansas, where the state had yet to execute anyone since the death penalty was reinstated.

His attorneys negotiated endlessly with Chris Koster, the Missouri prosecutor, who stood firm against their offers and tried to get Robinson to lead authorities to the bodies of Lisa Stasi, Paula Godfrey and Catherine Clampitt.

Either because he could not, or would not reveal where their bodies lay, Robinson demurred until Koster and his team became convinced the women's remains would never be found. Only then did Koster, with the permission of the victims' families, agree to accept the guilty pleas in return for life without parole sentences.

In mid-October 2003, John Robinson, looking much older than his 59 years, stood before a Missouri judge and, in a carefully scripted plea, acknowledged that Koster had enough evidence to convict him of capital murder for the deaths of Godfrey, Clampitt, Beverly Bonner and the Faiths. He demanded the unusual plea agreement because an admission of guilt in Missouri might have been used against him in Kansas -- Kansas prosecutor Morrison said he wasn't convinced the murders actually occurred in Koster's jurisdiction -- and nothing he said in Cass County, Missouri resembled anything like an admission of guilt.

While Morrison told the Kansas City Star he supported Koster's deal to end the mystery of what happened to the women, he spoke with disgust about John Robinson, the Internet's first serial killer.

"This was classic John Robinson," he said about the deal. "The guy was a gamesman to the end."

John E Robinson, Prison Photo ID
John E Robinson, Prison Photo ID

Once again John Robinson gave no statement or even a hint of what prompted his homicidal acts. As family members of the victims shared their feelings of anger and pain before his sentencing, Robinson ignored them and stared straight ahead, oblivious to the hurt he had wrought. His mind unable to empathize with the survivors, Robinson appeared bored with the whole process. In this, the final time John Robinson was likely ever to appear in public, it was clear that their emotions were something he had never experienced.

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