Missouri man convicted of Madison County drug-deal murder

Fresno Bee Staff Photo

A Missouri man faces up to 75 years in prison for a drug murder after a jury returned a guilty verdict Tuesday.

Turhan Robinson, 39, of Jennings, Mo., was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder and armed robbery in the death of Kenneth Deal. Robinson and Terrence Lee were accused of trying to rob Deal of marijuana on May 19, 2014, and shooting him in their car, then dumping him out at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Third Street in Madison.

Both men fled prior to their arrests. Robinson was eventually apprehended in Las Vegas, then escaped a private prisoner transport service en route back to Illinois, slipping away from the transportation van at a Colorado truck stop. He was later recaptured by U.S. Marshals.

Lee was arrested in St. Louis and extradited to Madison County, where he remained in custody at the Madison County Jail. While awaiting trial on multiple counts of murder, attempted murder of police officers, armed robbery and aggravated kidnapping, Lee attacked and killed a fellow inmate, 61-year-old John Newsome Sr. He later pleaded guilty to the charge, and his murder charge in Deal’s death was reduced to armed robbery in return for a guilty plea.

Robinson’s trial began last Wednesday and was continued over the weekend. Witnesses included members of the Major Case Squad, Granite City Police, St. Louis City Police and Madison Police.

“This verdict is a victory for our community and those who have suffered from the defendant’s terrible actions,” Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said in a news release. “It strikes a blow against this defendant’s life of violence and sends a powerful message to anyone who might do the same. We will not tolerate violence in our community, and we will bring the full weight of the justice system down on those who harm our fellow citizens.”

Robinson faces 35 to 75 years on the charge of first-degree murder, and six to 30 years on armed robbery, a Class X felony.

Madison County Associate Judge Neil Schroeder will sentence Robinson at a later date. He had been out on bail, which has now been revoked. He will remain in custody in the Madison County Jail until sentencing, which follows a pre-sentencing investigation of six to eight weeks.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald