Off again, on again preliminary hearing set in Romeo murder

© 2017-Conejos County Citizen

CONEJOS — Multiple defense requests for information for the sixth time delayed the preliminary hearing for murder suspect Michael John Robinson, 32, but only until Friday, Nov. 17.
On Nov. 2, defense attorneys moved to continue, seeking transcripts of law enforcement interviews, as well as any and all documents created by investigators. Conejos County Judge Kimberly Cortez told defense and prosecution to be prepared on Nov. 17 and to determine what requested materials exist and which do not.
District Attorney Crista Newmyer-Olsen told the court it is unreasonable to seek every document, however small, and the prosecution is not obligated to order production of transcripts.
Defense attorneys contended that Robinson has been in jail six months and all requested information still isn’t in, though the photographs of the crime scene and other documents are.
The alleged victim, James H. Sprouse, 77, lived behind a small grocery store he and his wife once operated in downtown Romeo.
Robinson faces seven counts in connection with the suspected murder and dismemberment of Sprouse sometime between June 3 and 12, 2016.
Sprouse had been reported missing on June 6, 2016 and again on March 10, 2017. The remains were discovered April 18 of this year and Conejos County Sheriff Howard Galvez immediately placed a gag order on release of any further information. One defense issue is that a number of items have existed in the hands of law enforcement, but haven’t been presented.
Robinson is charged with murder in the first degree, two sentence enhancements regarding a crime of violence, tampering with physical evidence, abuse of a corpse, aggravated motor vehicle theft in the first degree and concealing death.
The Class 1 Felony first-degree murder charge is based on the contention that Robinson allegedly intended to cause the death of a person other than himself.
The crime of violence charges accuse Robinson of using an unknown during the commission of several criminal activities relating to Sprouse, causing serious bodily injury to the elderly man.
He also allegedly feloniously destroyed, mutilated, concealed, removed or altered physical evidence and treated the remains of Sprouse in a way that would outrage normal family sensibilities.
Robinson is also accused of concealing Sprouse’s death.
After Sprouse died, Robinson allegedly took the older man’s Ford Explorer out of Colorado in violation of state law.
The vehicle was found abandoned in San Diego, Calif. on June 17, 2016 and Robinson was arrested nearby almost a year later.
He has been held by the Conejos County Sheriff since May and has only been allowed to talk with jail staff as necessary for his needs. The judge also denied a motion for bond reduction.


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