Murder Charge Is Upheld

Posted: May 10, 1996

NORRISTOWN — A murder charge against a borough man accused of killing his former girlfriend last month was held over for court yesterday after a preliminary hearing before District Justice Francis Lawrence.

Thomas E. Robinson, 25, was charged in the April 22 slaying of Sheila Cody, 26, of the 700 block of George Street. Robinson turned himself in to Philadelphia police on April 23.

Robinson, a graduate of Upper Dublin High School and a Desert Storm veteran, became unemployed in February and was residing in Southwest Philadelphia with family members. Yesterday he was returned to Montgomery County Prison, where he was being held without bail.

John K. Connor, Robinson's attorney, said after the preliminary hearing that he did not believe there was sufficient evidence to uphold a first-degree murder charge.

``One of the key elements here is premeditation, showing a plan or a scheme, and I didn't see any of that. He had been [to George Street] the day before and was welcome there,'' Connor said.

Police records show that eight times last year borough officers went to Cody's address and had to break up fights between her and Robinson and that Cody had obtained a protection-from-abuse order against Robinson.

The hearing included testimony from two Montgomery County District Attorney's Office detectives who described the third-floor apartment bedroom in which they found Cody, with six stab wounds, lying in a pool of blood.

According to police reports, the victim's sister, Monicka Cody, called police after she heard a ``boom,'' went to her sister's bedroom, and found the body. Cody's three children, ages 7, 2 and 2 months, were in the brick rowhouse at the time.

During the hearing, Connor was repeatedly overruled by District Justice Lawrence in questioning Montgomery County Detective George Metz on the procedure used in obtaining Robinson's statement.

Metz read Robinson's statement from April 23, in which Robinson said, ``What happened wasn't meant to be. . . . I plead guilty and want capital punishment'' for her family and the children for ``taking away'' their mother and family member.

After the hearing, Connor said that Robinson's statement ``was obtained illegally by the Police Department'' and that there were more circumstances surrounding the case that would come out in the courtroom.

Robinson also is charged with voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person, and possessing an instrument of crime. He will be arraigned in county court on July 19.

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