Suspect in officer shooting charged with keeping metal shanks in his cell
The Homewood man charged with killing a Penn Hills police officer now faces additional charges after police said they found metal shanks in his cell after he was found unconscious the day jury selection was set to begin in his trial.
Ronald Robinson, 35, was arraigned shortly before 5 p.m. today on one count of possessing a weapon or an implement for escape.
Allegheny County police wrote that in a criminal complaint that they searched Robinson's cell on Wednesday morning, one day after jail workers found him unresponsive in his cell in what prosecutors have called a "medical mystery."
During the search, they found holes in the bottoms of one pair of Robinson's jail-issued shoes. When they looked inside the soles, they found two 4.5-inch long pieces of thin metal, one of which had been sharpened to a point, according to the complaint.
Robinson's sudden change in health baffled those associated with the case. Medics took him to UPMC Mercy, where he was put on life support.
Deputy District Attorney Mark Tranquilli said on Wednesday that doctors pumped his stomach and ran toxicology tests on his blood and found only one substance in his system -- marijuana, a common contraband found in the jail. Doctors told police Robinson's body temperature was 90 degrees when he arrived at the hospital and that he was in the throes of a seizure.
Robinson was released from UPMC Mercy today and returned to the Allegheny County Jail.
Robinson faces charges of homicide, robbery, burglary and illegal possession of a firearm in connection with the Dec. 6, 2009, death of Officer Michael Crawshaw, who was responding to a 911 call in the 200 block of Johnston Road. Police said Robinson killed a man named Danyal Morton over a drug debt and then shot Officer Crawshaw while he was fleeing the scene. He is now scheduled to go to trial in that case on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Robinson faces a preliminary hearing on the charge related to the shanks at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
First Published November 15, 2012 8:46 pm