Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LA Forensics: The Sandwich Shop Murders

Lies and Fake Tears

On cross-examination, Barshop reminded Robinson that he had repeatedly told the police that he did not enter the sandwich shop when the crimes were committed. He admitted that he had lied then and had also faked his tears. When asked what he made of the fact that so many witnesses contradicted him, he said they had all lied or had not remembered things correctly. And what about those who claimed he had confessed to the crime? They, too, had supposedly lied.

But Barshop had effectively shown that Robinson himself could lie easily and turn on the tears when needed. Robinson was not a credible witness.

Robinson might have believed that with his accounting of the facts he could at least cause a hung jury or perhaps win the jurors' sympathy and fend off the death penalty. They would see for themselves he was not a heartless executioner. In fact, some reporters described him as "dorky," because he was scrawny, wore large glasses, and seemed pathetic. Yet the jury had also heard testimony from unrelated witnesses about Robinson's enthusiastic bragging after the fact. They also had heard about fingerprint evidence from the plastic sandwich bag about which Robinson had also lied.

Some trial watchers thought the decision was obvious but others weren't so sure.

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