Judge orders summaries in Robinson death penalty case signaling a decision could be made soon

RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - An order from 9th Judicial District Court Judge Patricia Koch in the case of a convicted quadruple murderer trying to get his conviction and death penalty sentence vacated signals that a decision could be made in the case soon.

Darrell James Robinson | Photo Source: RPSO

Judge Koch, who oversaw a roughly month-long hearing last summer in Rapides Parish, has ordered that Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office special prosecutor Hugo Holland and attorneys for the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana submit post-hearing briefs by Oct. 31 and responsive reply briefs by Nov. 20. This is essentially a request for summaries of the arguments they made last summer. We're told the delay in the request could have to do with the extensive time it took to transcribe testimony in the case.

Robinson was sentenced to death in March 2001 for the May 1996 murders of a family of four in the Rapides Parish community of Poland - Billy Lambert, Lambert's sister Carol Hooper, Hooper's daughter Maureen Kelly, and Kelly's infant son Nicholas Kelly.

Throughout the summer of 2018, post-conviction attorneys for Robinson had been trying to build a case that Robinson had ineffective defense during his trial and that the prosecutor at the time withheld information. Both Robinson's original defense attorney, Mike Small, and the case's prosecutor, Mike Shannon, have denied wrongdoing. Post-conviction attorneys have also been trying to prove that someone else was responsible for the murders.

Robinson is currently housed on death row at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. The Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office brought in special prosecutor, Hugo Holland, to argue the case on behalf of the state. Robinson was primarily represented by Matilde Carbia with the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana.

Regardless of what happens in this post-conviction effort, an appeal is expected to be filed.

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