Man accused in beating death says victim came at him ‘with a crowbar’

Posted Dec. 01, 2011, at 11 a.m.
Last modified Dec. 02, 2011, at 11:18 a.m.
Peter Robinson arrives in court on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor for his initial appearance in the beating death of David Trask.
Peter Robinson arrives in court on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor for his initial appearance in the beating death of David Trask.
Ruth Trask, wife of David Task, displays a photograph of her late husband outside the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Peter Robinson is being charged in connection with Trask's death.
Ruth Trask, wife of David Task, displays a photograph of her late husband outside the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Peter Robinson is being charged in connection with Trask's death.

BANGOR, Maine — The man charged with killing a Hudson contractor told a dispatcher Nov. 12 that the victim, David P. Trask, came at him “with a crowbar” and that he took the weapon from him and struck him with it.

The affidavit in support of the warrant that led to the arrest of Peter Robinson, 48, of Bradford was made public Thursday. The document, filed at the Penobscot County Judicial Center, described a history of disputes between Robinson and Trask, 71, over alleged trespassing and a right-of-way issue.

The Penobscot County grand jury indicted Robinson on Wednesday for intentional or knowing murder and depraved indifference murder. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday. Robinson is expected to plead not guilty.

A bail hearing is scheduled to be held following his arraignment.

Robinson called 911 about 2 p.m. Nov. 12 to report Trask’s death.

“He came at me with a crowbar, I took it out of his hands and I struck him in the head a couple of times and I think he’s dead,’’ Robinson told a dispatcher at the Maine State Police Barracks in Orono, according to the affidavit. “‘We had a confrontation, he came at me with a crowbar, I took it out of his hands and I clubbed him with it.’”

Trask died of head injuries with extensive fractures, Maine State Police Detective Jay Pelletier said in the document. The investigator said he learned from Dr. Michael Ferenc, the deputy chief medical examiner, that Trask suffered at least three impacts consistent with a broad, heavy object hitting his face and chest. One of them caused multiple rib fractures and another, to the mid-portion of the face, crushed the front of his skull and injured the brain. The third was to the chin and broke Trask’s jaw. His false teeth were found broken on the ground near his body.

The affidavit described several previous encounters between Robinson and Trask and/or his relatives.

In February 2009, a Maine warden issued trespass warnings to Trask and five male relatives after Robinson complained they were hunting on his posted land, according to the affidavit. Robinson allegedly told the warden the next day, “If I ever catch them down in there again, I’ll probably kill them,” the affidavit said.

Earlier this year, Trask purchased a lot with a right-of-way on Robinson’s land. Cheryl Robinson, the defendant’s wife, allegedly told police who came to investigate Trask’s death that her husband had intended to confront Trask about an unlocked gate at the entrance to Bear Road.

In the back of Trask’s truck detectives found plastic snow fencing, six wooden stakes, a small sledge hammer and a distance measuring device, according to the affidavit. The victim’s brother, Carl Trask, told a detective that David Trask most likely had gone to the Bradford property to measure distances so utility poles could be constructed for a building. The snow fencing probably was to be placed on the bridge over the brook, marking it for snow sledders, Carl Trask reportedly told police.

Although Robinson called the purported murder weapon a “crowbar,” Pelletier described it as a “pinch bar,” weighing about 15 pounds. It has a pointed, projecting end and is used to roll heavy objects, according to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th edition.

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Robinson is from Hudson. He is from Bradford. In addition, the story incorrectly stated that Robinson spoke to a dispatcher at the Penobscot Regional Communications Center. He spoke to a dispatcher at the Maine State Police Barracks in Orono.

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