Preparations made for death penalty trial -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Preparations made for death penalty trial

Allen Robinson, Junior Allen Robinson, Junior

A former Dougherty County jailer was in court Friday, preparing for his death penalty murder trial.

It's been nearly five years since Allen Robinson, Junior was charged with killing his girlfriend, but it could be another year before his trial begins. Because Robinson could face the death penalty for Roshonda Dowell's murder, preparing for the trial has been a long and complicated legal process, to guarantee he gets a fair trial.

Robinson sat quietly at a table with his lawyers during the hearing, taking notes. The Georgia Capital Defender for his case filed 112 motions to iron out procedures for his upcoming murder trial and the judge, prosecutor, and defense attorneys will discuss each one, to make sure all his rights are preserved during his trial.

"When a defendant's life is at stake, a court must be particularly sensitive to ensure that every safeguard is observed," said Office of the Georgia Capital Defender H. Burton Baker.

Prosecutors say in November 2008 Robinson chased down Roshonda Dowell in the parking lot of an East Albany grocery store, and stabbed her to death as horrified witnesses looked on. The motions today dealt with issues from the clothes Robinson will wear during trial, to security in transport and in the courtroom.

Because Robinson was a jailer, his knowledge and experience with those security procedures and training is another issue that had long debate. "It demands that kind of particular attention, and so the state is committed to follow through appropriately. And no matter how much time it takes we are going to do what is necessary," said District Attorney Greg Edwards.

Both prosecutors and defense attorneys said there is still a lot to do before this murder trial begins. "I'm thinking that it may come to a jury trial sometime about the middle of next year. Possibly a little later than in the middle of next year," Defense Attorney Bill Murray said.

A long and costly legal process because it's a death penalty case, but prosecutors say Roshonda Dowell's murder demands it. "We believe every citizen is worth the expenditure that is needed to make sure that justice is brought in a case," Edwards said.

These hearings on the 112 defense motions will continue over the next few months. Robinson and Dowell lived together for 8 years, and had three children. Defense attorneys and prosecutors say if Robinson is convicted, that will set in motion an automatic string of appeals that will last several more years.

Robinson has been held in the Dougherty County jail, where he once worked, since November 2008.


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