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Murder suspect charged with having items of escape in jail cell

| Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 6:12 p.m.

The Homewood man accused of fatally shooting a Penn Hills police officer was charged Thursday with having items in his cell that could be used to escape from jail.

Ronald Robinson, 35, was hospitalized on Tuesday upon being found unresponsive in his cell at the Allegheny County Jail only hours before jury selection was to begin in his homicide trial.

Robinson was taken from UPMC Mercy to the Municipal Court Building, Downtown, on Thursday for arraignment on the new charge of possession of a weapon or implements for escape.

The charge was filed when Allegheny County police searched Robinson's cell Wednesday morning and found two pieces of thin metal — one sharpened to a point on one end — hidden in the soles of his tennis shoes, according to a criminal complaint.

There is no indication in the complaint that discovery of the items was related to Robinson's hospitalization.

Prosecutors charged Robinson with the Dec. 6, 2009, fatal shootings of Officer Michael Crawshaw, 32, and Danyal Morton, 40, of Penn Hills.

Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli told Common Pleas Judge Kevin G. Sasinoski on Wednesday that doctors are puzzled by Robinson's medical condition because tests showed that the only toxic substance in his system was marijuana.

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or mhasch@tribweb.com.

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