Robinson's hearing continued in murder case

CONEJOS — Multiple defense requests for information for the sixth time delayed the preliminary hearing for murder suspect Michael John Robinson, 32.

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 reset the preliminary hearing for 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 17 and asked both defense and prosecution to be prepared at that time.

District Attorney Crista Newmyer-Olsen told the court it is unreasonable to seek every document, however small, and that the transcripts may or may not exist. She said the prosecution is not obligated to order transcripts.

Defense attorneys told the court 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. Robinson faces seven counts in connection with the suspected murder and dismemberment of his step-grandfather, James H. Sprouse, 77, sometime between June 3 and 12, 2016.

The alleged victim lived behind a small grocery store he and his wife once operated in downtown Romeo.

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 judge told defense attorneys that there is no requirement that the transcripts exist and gave the DA until Nov. 8 to determine if they exist or not.

The defense issue is that a number of items have existed in the hands of law enforcement, but haven’t been presented.

Class 1 felony first-degree murder is based on the charge 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 bludgeon 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. The body was found April 18 of this year. Sprouse had been reported missing on June 6, 2016 and again on March 10 of this year.

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, California 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. His defense team has been investigating.