Robinson plea, sentencing atricles

 Robinson pleads guilty

Feb. 18, 2008

A man accused of nearly beating his infant son to death admitted Friday that he tortured and abused the boy over several weeks last February.

Michael Robinson, 44, entered guilty pleas to felonious assault, a second-degree felony; endangering children, a second-degree felony; and domestic violence, a fourth-degree felony.

In exchange for his plea, Assistant Prosecutor Eric Stewart said the state will not oppose running the sentence for domestic violence at the same time as the sentence for the felonious assault charge.

Mr. Robinson faces up to eight years on each of the second-degree felonies.

Logan County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark S. O'Connor set sentencing for 1 p.m. Feb. 25.

Mr. Robinson was scheduled to stand trial Tuesday.

Dana Robinson was 11 months old when members of a Bellefontaine squad took him from his father's arms on Feb. 26 at 1200 Greenwood St.

He was not breathing, but had a pulse. He sustained severe brain damage.

Mr. Stewart said Dana was taken to Mary Rutan Hospital and later was transferred to Children's Hospital in Columbus.

There, doctors examined the boy and determined he had sustained brain and eye injuries commonly found when a child has been struck repeatedly and tossed or swung violently.

Dana also had bruising all over his body including the soles of his feet from Mr. Robinson pinching him.

Dana's older half-brothers told investigators they observed their father punch the infant, backhand him and pinch his nose.

"Mr. Robinson told officers that he had anger issues and he would take them out on Dana," Mr. Stewart read from the statement of facts.

"He told officers Dana was whiny and he would backhand him and pinch him to toughen up the boy."

Almost 2 now, Dana lives in a long-term care facility with minimal brain function. His brain is two-thirds the normal size for children of his age.

His mother, Sue Hutchins, 36, pleaded guilty last summer to a third-degree felony of permitting child abuse. She was sentenced to four years in prison.

Dana, his full brother Draven, 3, and his half-brothers Michael Robinson II, 12, Joseph, 10, and Forrest, 9, all are in emergency custody of Logan County Children's Services.

The three older boys have been placed with their uncle, Jason Robinson of Bellefontaine, while Draven is living with Dan and Teresa Robinson of DeGraff. Dan Robinson is a cousin of the defendant.

Permanent custody proceedings are under way and it appears the boys will remain in the respective homes.

LCCS Executive Director John Holtcamp learned about the verdict after the last-minute plea. He was reserved in his reaction.

"I think it puts some measure of closure to this sad and painful chapter," he said. "It's time to let the children move on. They need the rest of their lives, too."

The next custody hearings before Family Court Judge Michael Brady are at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Jan. 28.


Robinson receives 14 years

Feb. 26, 2008

A father who admitted beating his then 11-month-old son into a coma was sentenced Monday to 14 years in prison.

Michael Robinson, 44, will serve seven years for felonious assault and seven years for endangering children, both second-degree felonies. A 11/2-year sentence for a fourth-degree felony domestic violence charge will be served at the same time as the assault charge.

The sentencing came almost a year to the date that Dana Robinson was taken nearly dead to Mary Rutan Hospital with multiple and extensive injuries. Dana, now almost 2 years old, remains unconscious and under doctors' care in a nursing home.

It is highly unlikely that Dana will ever live a normal life and what life he has will be shortened, Assistant Logan County Prosecutor Eric Stewart said.

Mr. Robinson told Logan County Common Pleas Judge Mark S. O'Connor, "I love that boy. I love all my children.

"I'm sorry for how this looks."

Dana's mother, Sue Hutchins, 36, is currently serving a four-year sentence for permitting child abuse, a third-degree felony.

Mr. Stewart asked the judge for lengthy consecutive sentences.

"The abuse in this case goes beyond description," he said before Judge O'Connor. "In essence, he tortured this boy."

Mr. Stewart called Mary Ranee Leber M.D. She works at Children's Hospital in Columbus and part of her job is to evaluate children who may have been abused or mistreated.

She assessed Dana on Feb. 26, 2007, and reported that he sustained brain and eyes injuries that most likely came from blunt force trauma or from being shaken. She believes the injuries occurred just hours before he was taken to Mary Rutan.

"They were massive and extensive and inflicted," the pediatrician said. "It was the result of a complex physical assault, all with significant force."

She also testified that Dana had sustained a rib injury probably seven to 10 days earlier. It was starting to heal, Dr. Leber said.

Dr. Leber said Dana has suffered multiple strokes since and each stroke destroys brain tissue, causing the brain to shrink.

Under a plan developed by Logan County Children's Services, Dana and his older brother are on track to be adopted by a cousin of Mr. Robinson while three older Robinson boys from a prior marriage are living with a paternal uncle. Those boys also are on track for adoption by the relative.

Ms. Hutchins gave up parental rights to Dana and her other son. Mr. Robinson has not.