Fellow inmate says Lewiston man confessed killing

Posted Nov. 15, 2012, at 6:42 a.m.
Buddy Robinson
Jose Leiva | Sun Journal
Buddy Robinson

AUBURN, Maine — A former jail mate testified Wednesday that Buddy Robinson told him he grabbed a prostitute by the throat and killed her, then dumped her body in the woods.

Prosecutors fit together the last pieces of their case against Robinson, 31, of Lewiston, who is charged with murder stemming from the disappearance of Christiana Fesmire, 22, of Lewiston. Her body has not been recovered.

On the first day of the trial, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson told the jury he’d present a collection of circumstantial evidence which, when all of the testimony and evidence is pieced together, will prove Robinson’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The state is expected to rest its case Thursday morning after its final witnesses take the stand.

On Wednesday, the fifth day of the trial, Jason Gill, an inmate from Houlton, testified that he occupied the same pod as Robinson in the Cumberland County Jail in Portland from late November 2011 to mid-February. During that time, the two chatted.

Gill, who is awaiting trial on a drug-trafficking charge, said Robinson told him in late January that he was charged with murder. Gill, doubtful, pressed Robinson for details.

Robinson said he’d argued with a prostitute he’d been having sex with. “He said he just snapped,” Gill said. Then Robinson killed her in a bathtub and “grabbed her up and took her out to the woods,” Gill told the jury.

Under cross-examination by Robinson’s attorney, Edward “Ted” Dilworth, Gill said he shared Robinson’s story with authorities because, “I just had to do what’s right.” He said he hoped to receive favorable consideration for having come forward, but he hadn’t been promised anything by prosecutors.

Benson attempted to nail down, hour by hour, the movements of Buddy Robinson and his sister, Brandi, on July 1, 2011, the day Fesmire went missing, including ATM photos with time stamps and cellphone records.

Dilworth is seeking to cast doubt on his client’s guilt during the trial by presenting Brandi as an alternative suspect.

Benson used cellphone data to show the respective movements and actions of Brandi and Buddy Robinson on July 1. The last phone call from Fesmire’s cellphone was made at 8:38 a.m. on that day, Detective Leonard Bolton of the Maine State Police testified. Brandi Robinson testified last week that Buddy called her at that time using Fesmire’s phone to say he and Fesmire had gotten into an argument at 36 Highland Ave., where Fesmire had lived on the first floor and had planned to move out that day. Buddy Robinson, who lived upstairs with Brandi, had been alone in the building with Fesmire at that time, witnesses had said.

The last text message made from Fesmire’s phone was placed at 11:08 a.m. that day, Bolton said.

The day before she disappeared, Fesmire’s phone recorded 84 texts. On July 1, a total of six text messages were recorded on her phone, Bolton said.

Benson asked whether Buddy Robinson had communicated with his brother, Tom, on July 1 and whether their level of communication was unusual.

Bolton said there were occasional calls and texts between the two before and after July 1, but that on that day, there were 11 text messages between the two over a span of 32 minutes.

“That is abnormal,” Bolton said.

Buddy Robinson and Rebecca Cornell du Houx, with whom Buddy served in the Maine Army National Guard, exchanged 46 text messages late on the night of July 1, Bolton said.

Prosecutors plan to call Cornell du Houx on Thursday as a final witness. She is expected to say Robinson sent her text messages that night from Augusta to say that things weren’t going well. He said he had hurt somebody badly, but he didn’t have to worry about her anymore. Asked why not, he said he would never see her again. When Cornell du Houx pressed him, Robinson said, “She’s dead.”

Cornell du Houx testified at a bail hearing a year ago.

Brandi Robinson and her boyfriend, Levi Gervais, testified at trial that they stopped in Augusta during their trip to Presque Isle on July 1 and rented rooms at a Super 8 motel. Buddy, who had his own room, apparently left the motel shortly before 2:30 a.m. and traveled more than 3 miles from the motel, according to a cellphone data analysis, Bolton said.

Also on Wednesday, forensic experts said blood found pooled in the trunk of the black Lexus sedan that Buddy Robinson was driving starting July 1 and into the weekend matched Fesmire’s DNA.

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