Share This Page

Judge dismisses juror in Penn Hills cop shooting over prank call

| Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, 12:50 p.m.

Christopher Eleam told an Allegheny County jury on Monday that his longtime friend Ronald Robinson said he was going to “get at” a man who owed him money for a quarter of an ounce of crack cocaine.

“I told him a couple hundred dollars isn't worth 25” years in prison, Eleam said on the third day of Robinson's capital murder trial.

“It's the game you're in” dealing drugs, Eleam, 34, of Penn Hills, recalled telling Robinson on Dec. 5, 2009, in the former Conemaugh Club in Homewood.

Prosecutors accuse Robinson, 35, of Penn Hills of killing Penn Hills police Officer Michael Crawshaw about 8:25 p.m., minutes after fatally shooting Danyal Morton, 40, the man police say owed Robinson money.

Eleam recounted that on Dec. 6, 2009, Robinson was in Eleam's house on Glendale Road in Penn Hills watching the Steelers play the Oakland Raiders. Eleam's girlfriend, Tamara Lowe, 34, testified Robinson left about 7:30 or 8 p.m. and returned about 45 minutes later “jittery” and “out of breath.”

When he came back, Robinson called his mother and said he had to talk to her, Eleam said. Hours later, Robinson called Eleam and told his friend, “I (messed) up.”

“I knew something was wrong with him, but I didn't know what,” Eleam said.

The trial will resume on Tuesday with testimony from others who saw Robinson on the day of the slayings.

Common Pleas Judge Kevin G. Sasinoski, who is presiding, dismissed a juror on Monday because the juror reported he got a call from someone claiming to be KDKA-TV reporter Harold Hayes asking about the case.

Sasinoski said investigators determined the call was a prank by the juror's son. Sasinoski dismissed the juror, who was not identified, and replaced him with an alternate.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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.