Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Jury votes life sentence in brutal beating murder

By Sharon Coolidge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A Hamilton County jury spared Eric Robinson's life Tuesday, recommending life in prison instead of lethal injection for the convicted killer.

Jurors spent nine hours over two days deliberating Robinson's fate. In the end, two jurors could not agree with the others that Robinson deserved to die for the brutal beating death of Harry Brown, 85, of Sycamore Township, one juror said Tuesday.

At that point, said juror Eric Roeseler, they began considering other penalties. Roeseler said he was among the jurors who thought the beating so horrific that Robinson should have been sentenced to die.

Robinson was convicted last week in the August 2002 death of Brown, who had hired Robinson to do odd jobs around his home.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen, who tried the case himself, had sought the death penalty. Allen said he was disappointed in the jury's decision but accepted it.

Norman Aubin, one of Robinson's lawyers, said he and lawyer Mark Krumbein, "put our guts into this case. We're happy for him."

An assistant coroner testified during the trial it was the worst beating he'd ever seen in the thousands of autopsies he's done.

Hamilton County Common Pleas judge Norbert Nadel told the jury: "You didn't go for the ultimate penalty, but the penalties here are substantial."

Roeseler, 34, of Wyoming, said the magnitude of his decision was more difficult than he thought. Twice during the trial, Roeseler asked the jury commissioner's office for counseling. He made the same request again after jurors convicted Robinson.

Roeseler never received the counseling, but when asked by Nadel if he could be fair and objective during the trial, Roeseler told the judge he could.

Roeseler said he believes the court should have a counseling program in place for jurors seeking help after listening to cases.

"This was the most difficult thing I ever had to do in my life," he said.

The jury's decision is a binding recommendation to the judge, who will issue his sentence Feb. 19.


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