Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

June 29, 2011

Robinson convicted in shooting plot

Jury recommends maximum sentence for Boyd resident

VANCEBURG — A Lewis Circuit Court jury on Tuesday convicted a Boyd County man of plotting and financing the shooting of his mistress’ husband and recommended he receive the maximum punishment for the crime.

The nine-woman, three-man panel deliberated for about two hours before convicting Gary H. Robinson, 64, of complicity to commit attempted murder in the Jan. 15, 2010, shooting of John Jamison, 47, of Garrison.

Jurors then retired and deliberated for about 30 more minutes before returning with a recommendation that Robinson be sentenced to 20 years in prison, the longest term he could have received for the Class C felony.

It’s also three years longer than the sentence given in February to Wesley Allen of Bahama, N.C., who pleaded guilty to being the trigger man in the assassination plot.

Robinson, of Rosewood Drive, which is in the Meads area, had no visible reaction to either the verdict or the sentence. Jamison’s family members applauded when Judge Bob Conley read the sentence, and the outburst prompted a stern rebuke from the judge.

“If you want to join Mr. Robinson in jail, keep that up,” he said.

Robinson’ wife, Melinda “Susie” Robinson, wept softly and gave her husband a quick kiss prior to him being led out of the courtroom by sheriff’s deputies.

Jamison’s wife, Dana, whose eight-year affair with Robinson was at the heart of the case, appeared to be fighting back tears when the verdict was announced.

She said after court she felt the jury’s decision had provided a measure of justice for her husband, who survived the attempt on his life, but suffered injuries that  left him in a persistent vegetative state.

“I just thank God justice was done and I pray we can get on with our lives,” she said.

The verdict also means Dana Jamison’s 8-year-old son, Tyler, the product of the affair between her and Robinson, will have to grow up without his father. But Jamison said she felt that was probably for the best.

“He (Robinson) wasn’t a very good role model,” she said.

Robinson’s attorneys and Allen tried to implicate Dana Jamison in the conspiracy that resulted in her husband’s shooting, but she has denied having any involvement and has never been charged.

The shooting occurred at the Jamisons’ home on Montgomery Road. Dana Jamison testified she and her husband were lying in bed when Allen pulled up to their house. John Jamison thought he recognized Allen’s vehicle as belonging to his uncle and sent his wife to answer the door.

After she did so, Dana Jamison testified, Allen first asked to see her older son, Derek Goddard, and then, after being told Goddard was in jail, requested to speak to “the man of the house.”

John Jamison then came downstairs armed with a .357 Magnum. Allen opened fire, shooting at least nine times. John Jamison was able to get off five shots, with one of them striking Allen in the nose. Police said he had major facial injuries when he was arrested in North Carolina several days after the shooting.

Evidence presented by prosecutors during the trial revealed Robinson and Allen had been in contact with one another several times in the days prior to the shooting. On the morning of the incident, the two met at the South Shore Speedway, where the store’s security cameras recorded Robinson giving Allen money.

Allen worked for C.W. Wright Construction, a company that erects power lines and electrical towers. Robinson was a manager with the company, earning base salary of $130,000 a year. Allen, who was the prosecution’s star witness, testified Robinson had promised him $25,000 and a truck for killing John Jamison.

In his closing remarks, Commonwealth’s Attorney Cliff Duvall said Robinson “recruited” and “groomed” Allen to commit the shooting  because the lacked the “guts” to do it himself. He also said Robinson kept Allen beholden to him by lending him money on numerous occasions and by making sure Allen was able to hold onto his $32-an-hour job even though he was addicted to crack cocaine.

In spite of attempts by defense attorneys to portray Allen as a habitual liar, Duvall told jurors he believed Allen had told the truth from the beginning and that was why he agreed to knock three years off his prison sentence. He also noted that Allen came forward and revealed what had happened before he was even offered a plea deal.

Duvall also mocked the defense’s attempts to discredit Allen by invoking his past criminal record, which included a conviction for felony assault. He said it could hardly be considered surprising Robinson would seek out someone with violent tendencies to take out his romantic rival.

“You don’t hire Little Lord Fauntleroy or a choirboy to make a hit on somebody,” he said. “You hire someone who’s already in that violent culture.”

Under state sentencing guidelines, Robinson will have to serve at least 85 percent, or 17 years, of his prison sentence before he can be considered for parole. He cannot shave time off his sentence by earning “good” time while behind bars because his offense is classified as a violent one, said Jamie Price, state probation and parole officer for Lewis County.

Robinson’s lead attorney, Ray Bogucki, put Susie Robinson on the witness stand to beg the jury to show mercy to her husband during the sentencing phase of the trial.

“I just hope you’ll take into consideration that it took a long time for me to forgive him (for the affair with Dana Jamison), but the Lord and I forgave him,” she said. “I just hope you’ll give him the least time you can so I can still see him.”

Bogucki urged jurors to take Robinson’s age into account when considering his sentence.

“You could be putting him in prison for life at 10 years, and, almost certainly at 20 years, that would be the case,” he said.

But Duvall told jurors it was John Jamison, not Robinson, who was deserving of their sympathy.

“He’s not ever going to see his wife again,” he said. “He’s not ever going to see anything but the ceiling of a nursing home.”

In a sense, Duvall said, John Jamison’s fate was more cruel than if Allen had succeeded in killing him. And, were it not for John Jamison’s “beating heart,” the case would have been about murder rather than attempted murder, he said.

Conley scheduled Robinson’s final sentencing for July 8.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

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