State's Supreme Court accepts David Robinson case

David Robinson sits in the visiting area inside Jefferson City Correctional Center during an interview with the Southeast Missourian in September.
Laura Simon

The lawyers for David Robinson announced Tuesday the Missouri Supreme Court formally has accepted Robinson's case.

A preliminary writ of habeas corpus was issued by the court Tuesday requesting the state file a response by Jan. 24.

Robinson's lawyer, Jim Wyrsch, said the next step, if the state files a response, usually is an order declaring a briefing schedule.

Robinson's lawyer, Jonathan Potts, wrote the court most likely would request oral arguments in the case. Potts said Robinson's case likely would not be denied by the state Supreme Court without an opinion.

"What it means for my client is that he has a chance to have his day in court," Wyrsch said.

Neither Wyrsch nor Potts could guess a date when there might be an order for a briefing schedule.

Robinson, 48, of Sikeston, Missouri, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2001 for the shooting death of Sheila Box on Aug. 5, 2000. Since then, another man confessed to the murder, and the two witnesses who testified against Robinson recanted their testimonies.

Robinson's bid to overturn the conviction was denied on appeal in 2002, on a post-conviction appeal in 2005, on a habeas-corpus petition in Mississippi County in 2007, on a federal habeas-corpus petition in 2010, a second state habeas-corpus petition in Cole County Court in January and a habeas-corpus petition to the Western District Court of Appeals in March.

Habeas corpus provides inmates the means to fight unlawful detentions, Wyrsch said in a previous interview.

Robinson's family is cautiously optimistic about the news the state Supreme Court is moving forward with the case.

"We've been fighting this thing 16 years," Robinson's brother, Justin, said. "Every time we've had our hopes up high, we've been denied. ... It's a good sign, but I don't want to get up and get let down."

Robinson's mother, Jennett McCaster, said the state Supreme Court's recent action is a step toward her prayers being answered.

"I'm still trusting in the Lord," she said. "I've got a lot of people praying."

The Missouri Attorney General's Office has handled the prosecution of Robinson's case going back to the original trial in 2001.

"We have no comment at this time," Amanda Holtmeyer, administrative secretary with the Attorney General's Office, wrote in an email. "We expect a full briefing on this case in the coming weeks."

Robinson could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

(573) 388-3644

Pertinent address: 207 W. High St., Jefferson City, MO