Missouri man to serve 80 years in prison for murder in drug deal gone wrong

A Missouri man whose rant against his own lawyer and the court delayed his sentencing will now face up to 80 years in prison for murder.

Turhan Robinson, 39, formerly of Jennings, Mo., was convicted in November 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, which ended with Deal shot and dumped out of the car at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Third Street in Madison, Ill.

On Tuesday, Madison County Circuit Judge Neil Schroeder sentenced Robinson to 80 years in prison — 47 years for first-degree murder and 33 years for armed robbery, of which he will have to serve 100 percent. The sentences will run consecutively, for a total of 80 years.

Robinson had come up for sentencing earlier this month. By law he is permitted to speak on his own behalf, and went on at length arguing that he was innocent and that the case had been stacked against him with what he called circumstantial evidence. He criticized the prosecution, the police, the judge and his own attorney.

Deal’s family was sitting in the front row at the time, and Robinson got down on his knees and insisted he was sorry for their loss, but he was innocent.

Afterward, Robinson’s attorney, Steve Griffin, made a motion to withdraw as counsel, stating that clearly Robinson felt he’d received inadequate assistance of counsel. Schroeder postponed the sentencing at that time for further study of the issues raised. Robinson had repeatedly fired attorneys and tried to represent himself during the trial. Griffin had been appointed by the court.

Lee is already serving a 50-year prison sentence, having pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of armed robbery. While in jail awaiting trial, Lee attacked and killed a fellow inmate, 61-year-old John Newsome Sr. He pleaded guilty to Newsome’s murder as well.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald