Transgender woman takes stand in trial of accused cop killer
By Adam Brandolph
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, 12:08 p.m.
A man charged with killing a police officer and another victim sent text messages to his longtime girlfriend demanding she tell police he was with her the day of the fatal shootings, a former county detective testified Tuesday.
“I can't talk right now I was with u all day 4real,” Ronald Robinson wrote to Kashawna Jackson, 35, at 9:16 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2009, less than an hour after police say Robinson killed Officer Michael Crawshaw, 32, and Danyal Morton, 40, of Penn Hills.
Robinson went to Morton's home on Johnston Road and killed him over a $500 drug debt before fatally shooting Crawshaw, the first officer to respond to the scene, police say. Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli is seeking the death penalty during a trial that began Thursday.
Jurors on Tuesday also heard testimony from a transgender woman Robinson met through a phone sex hotline hours after the shooting. Robinson was in bed with Thomas Jones, who goes by the name “Taliyah,” when detectives arrested him at Robinson's Homewood house on Dec. 7, 2009. Jones refused to answer questions from Tranquilli, who referred to a statement Jones gave police after Robinson's arrest.
Robinson's cousin, Ramond Nelson, testified and told the jury of seven women and five men that Robinson confessed to killing Morton over a drug debt.
“He said him and a guy got into it over $500. He said he was going in the house to try to get his money and he shot the guy,” Nelson said. “He said he went outside and he shot the cop.”
Nelson said Robinson made the confession when he saw reports of Crawshaw's death while watching television at Robinson's mother's house in Homewood.
“I said ‘Why would you do something like that? Do you want to spend the rest of your life in jail?'” Nelson said.
The text messages sent to Robinson's girlfriend were among evidence collected by county detectives and extracted from Robinson's cell phone by former Allegheny County Police Detective Timothy Haney, who works as an agent for the state Attorney General's Office specializing in computer forensics.
When Robinson sent the text asking Jackson to provide his alibi, she responded: “Lol u wasn't with me all day guess that was meant for someone else.”
Robinson replied: “I did something watch the news 4 me ... And delete the texts.”
Defense attorney Veronica Brestensky has not disputed most of the facts in the case, and Robinson does not deny his role in the shootings. Brestensky, however, believes her client should be convicted of second-degree murder rather than first-degree because Robinson killed Crawshaw while attempting to flee the scene of a felony.
The trial will resume Wednesday with Jackson expected to take the stand.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
- Sharks praise ex-teammate, newest Penguins player Goc
- GOP says privatizing LCB could aid budget
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- Seton Hill baseball team makes early impact in PSAC
- Bitcoin’s father said to be found
- On Pittsburgh visit, EU Ambassador says $15B aid package to Ukraine signal of support
- Leechburg Road closed until 5 a.m. Friday
- Homicide charge added in Derry death
- Mt. Pleasant board to vote on contract with Volz
- Westmoreland man’s walk in Niagara Falls State Park wasn’t allowed, police say
- Murrysville police will get raises in 5-year pact