2009-11-05 / Front Page

Robinson Trial Ends In Hung Jury

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

A jury was unable to come to a unanimous decision on any of the nine charges previously levied against a Hustontown man accused of corrupting several area youths by providing them with beer as well as a place to drink.

Ronald Lee “Charlie” Robinson was initially charged in August of 2008 by investigating state police officer Trooper Shawn Fabian with three counts each of the corruption of minors, recklessly endangering another person and furnishing alcohol to minors. Charges were filed after two female juveniles were determined to be underage drinking in the vicinity of the Forbes Road School District and a single-vehicle crash claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy the same evening.

An 18-year-old area girl took the stand on behalf of the commonwealth and testified that at the age of 16, she and her 14-yearold best friend were apprehended by state police on August 2, 2008, for underage drinking after they consumed multiple cans of beer at Robinson’s home. The 18-year-old added Robinson was her stepfather’s uncle and lived within walking distance of her former residence on North Hess Road in Taylor Township.

Under questioning, both girls confirmed they were invited to Robinson’s home to consume beer early in the day by Robert “Bobby” Smith, formerly of 476 Quarry Hill Road, Hustontown. Smith, who is currently an 18- year-old inmate at Pine Grove State Correctional Institution on charges of driving under the influence, reported he drove Robinson to K&K Budget Beer Outlet in Fort Littleton on two occasions on August 2 and even paid for both 18-packs of Busch pounders that Robinson carried from the business. Smith did not possess a driver’s license at the time and lied to the owner of the Isuzu Amigo, Dennis Lane, about who would be operating the sport utility vehicle that particular day.

Former store employee Scott Kyler took the stand and recalled seeing Robinson at the beer distributor on several occasions leading up to that day. Kyler added he distinctly remembered Robinson coming into the store twice on August 2.

“It’s not often I see people twice a day,” pointed out Kyler.

Even though the basic outline of events for August 2 was confirmed by both juvenile girls and Smith, various questions were raised by the defense in looking at timing details, amount of beer consumed and how long they had known Robinson. The trio related they were not aware of Robinson, 53, being a “little slow” or “retarded.”

Aside from questioning Kyler on the price of 18 cans of Busch pounders in August 2008, the lone individual to take the stand on behalf of the defense was Robinson’s nephew, Dale Robinson. Dale Robinson reported his uncle did not work, and he serves as the payee for his uncle’s disability checks.

In following a stipulation requested by defense attorney Dwight Harvey, reference to the fatal accident or the late Joshua Wilt was prohibited. Wilt’s ex- tended family and several classmates were on hand, however, for the October 30 trial that ended in a hung jury after 2-1/2 hours of unsuccessful deliberation. The possibility exists that the matter could again be brought before another jury as a retrial.

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