HOLMBERG: Murder trial begins in dumpster baby death

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” testified Lee Medical Center maintenance supervisor Robin Porter. “I didn’t want to believe what I saw.”

It was a baby with a “head full of hair” that the tall maintenance man saw when he looked into the dumpster on the evening of May 28 2013. And, as he looked down in horror, he remembered the emotional pleas from one of his custodians, Olivia King, who just a little while earlier told him she believed a woman was aborting a baby in the 6th floor bathroom.

Their information quickly led to the arrest of 27-year-old Shavaughn Robinson, whose first degree murder trial began Monday.

Jurors heard testimony that Robinson was a hard worker who held down two jobs to support her little boy.

Trim, athletic, size 5, she was a self-employed massage therapist in the historic Lee Medical Building on Monument Avenue, overlooking the Robert E. Lee statue.

Jurors also heard from co-workers who said Robinson had gained weight that winter. One said Robinson certainly looked like she was pregnant and was trying to hide it.

And jurors also heard that Robinson was in bad shape that afternoon a year ago;  grey-faced, sick, lying down on one of the massage tables but refusing help, saying she had a stomach virus.

Custodian Olivia King, beginning her cleaning shift on that part of the sixth floor, heard someone in the women’s room, viciously ripping paper towels out of the dispenser. She went in and saw someone in the stall. There was water on the floor, along with specks of blood.

“She was crying,” King testified. She said she asked again and again if the woman was all right.

“She told me she had stomach problems,” King told the 10-woman, four-man jury (two alternates). “She was crying, saying. ‘I’ll be all right.”

Then she heard a baby cry, King said, and she ran to get her supervisor, Robin Porter.

But Porter testified that when he stuck his head in the bathroom , the young woman seemed together.

He and King sat outside of the bathroom and waited for the woman, who came out carrying something wrapped in clear plastic and brown paper in the crook of her arm – like a football, they both testified.

The woman – Robinson – went into one of the massage therapy suites on that floor and came out a few minutes later with a drawstring knapsack on her back.

The prosecutor in the case opened with some mean facts: the baby girl was born alive, fully developed,  that it wasn’t the child of Shavaughn’s boyfriend, that she desperately wanted to hide it, to make it go away.

But the defense, in its opening statements, said they will show that Shavaughn Robinson didn’t know what she was doing that evening, that she was having mental problems - including pregnancy denial -  and had previously suffered hallucinations.

Robinson, the defense will argue, believed she had passed some kind of purple doll out of her body and cleaned up afterwards because she didn’t want someone else to have to do it.

Shavaughn Robinson is far from the lean, vivacious young woman shown in older family photos. She sat heavily in the courtroom, moving little, watching distantly, pulling her sleeves down over her hands, like a child does, occasionally writing a note to her attorney with precise handwriting.

In order to get a first-degree murder conviction, prosecutors will have to prove she planned the death and disposal of her baby, that she deliberately killed it in the bathroom or left it to die in the dumpster.

The jury could also agree to a lesser murder or manslaughter charge.

The trial in Richmond Circuit Court is expected to last through Wednesday, barring a plea-deal.


    • Mark

      Latosha, many believe you are an uneducated, very old white man pretending to be a black woman. You fit the stereotype held by many old uneducated white men of a black woman. I too believe you are manalshi pretending to be someone else.

      Can you prove you are a black woman or that you are not manalishi?


    Manalishi, we know this is you pretending to be Latosha Wilson. Everytime she make a comment then here you come with your comment.

  • Tabitha Boothe

    They are prosecuting her because she put a helpless newborn baby into the dumpster! She should have called 911 and handed them the baby, she could have taken it herself to any firestation or hospital and handed the baby over no questions asked! She CHOSE to dump her baby in the trash- mental illness or clear headed thinking only she knows. Prosecute her!

  • ken

    black women for some reason never know they are pregnant,their families never know it,why?Same excuse from them all the time.Is it because they are usually overweight anyway and don’t have the normal female instincts others have.Makes no sense.Maybe LATOSHA can answer that,question mark,period



  • Joe

    Fortunately this woman gave birth at her work place and was not able to “dispose” of the child as she wished. Luckily there were plenty of witnesses to clearly explain the entire situation. Often times this happens in the woman’s home and is much easier to “throw away” or flush down the toilet. These people make me sick. There are so many other options for women in this situation. Judgement day is coming.

  • Cindy

    The woman in the bathroom should gave called 911 as soon as she saw blood. That baby would have been saved and the girl would not have been in the court system!

  • abc123

    Who am I to say, but there is no room in this free land for people like her. People always claim mental illness after the fact; never during the planning nor hiding periods. Throw her under. Sorry. And poor baby. :(

  • Cindy

    Just like seeing an accident and not stopping to help….minutes are crucial in saving a person’s life! If the lady in the bathroom called 911 even if she suspected something, just maybe that newborn could have had a living chance! I would not have taken no for an answer!

  • Jhonnie

    Probably the toughest time in anyone’s life is when you have to murder a loved one because they’re the devil. Taking one’s life is God’s, not ours! Therefore, no man has the right to kill. It is so frightening how easy it is for a person to commit murder.And just right after a person pulled the trigger they suddenly don’t understand anything that happens. I say that murder is somehow an abstract that is why I’ve searched security devices that will notify me whenever emergency arises and can quickly reach 911 with all the information needed. And then I found this service that works so great! Check it here: http://safekidzone.com/?a_aid=52f12fafd5de8

  • Jhonnie

    Murder is born of love, and love attains the greatest intensity in murder. As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure our kids’ safety. I am a parent and I’m worried and I don’t want anyone to experience threatening cases like this especially my kids. As a way of helping everyone especially the parents, who still find it quite hard to manage issues like this, I found this great service which featured safety app which gets me connected to a Safety Network or escalate my call to the nearest 911 when needed, it has other cool features that are helpful for your kids with just a press of a Panic Button. Check it here: http://safekidzone.com/?a_aid=52f12fafd5de8

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