Judge rejects trial delay for man accused in Penn Hills officer's death
By Adam Brandolph
Published: Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 12:18 a.m.
An Allegheny County judge on Friday refused to push back the trial of a man accused of fatally shooting a Penn Hills police officer because of unanswered questions about his health.
Patrick Thomassey, one of two lawyers representing Ronald Robinson, said he requested the delay because he feared his client could collapse in the middle of the trial.
“We don't know what happened or what will happen,” Thomassey said. “This wasn't a hangnail.”
Common Pleas Judge Kevin G. Sasinoski on Wednesday rescheduled jury selection to Nov. 26 after guards found Robinson, 35, unresponsive inside his Allegheny County Jail cell hours before jury selection was to begin.
Robinson appeared in court Friday wearing a red jump suit, his wrists and ankles shackled.
Dr. Alan Barnett, a physician who treated Robinson in the intensive care unit at UPMC Mercy, said Robinson had abnormal motor skills and a body temperature of 90.8 degrees when he was hospitalized.
Barnett said he did not know what caused Robinson to need medical attention and could not say if it would happen again.
Prosecutors argued the trial should proceed.
“Basically, what we have in an individual who has pneumonia and is on a 10-day antibiotic,” said Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli. “There's no indication that there's anything wrong with him.”
Prosecutors charged Robinson with shooting and killing Danyal Morton, 40, of Penn Hills, and Officer Michael Crawshaw, 32, on Dec. 6, 2009.
Police said Robinson killed Morton in a Penn Hills home over a $500 drug debt, then left the house and fired at Crawshaw — the first officer to respond — striking him several times while he still was in his patrol car.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.