Suspected serial killer assaulted women in hotel room, authorities say

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Security video from a Virginia Howard Johnson hotel showed the same grisly scene playing out twice in late 2021, a detective testified in court on Monday: Anthony Robinson rolling a shopping cart to room 336 then emerging for a while later pushing what appeared to be a body.

Robinson, whom authorities dubbed the “cart killer,” had killed Allene Redmon, 54, of Harrisonburg, and Tonita Smith, 39, of Charlottesville, in her Harrisonburg bedroom before loading their bodies into the cart. , Harrisonburg/Rockingham County District Attorney Marsha Garst alleged in court.

The remains of the two women were eventually found in a field behind the hotel, nearly naked, Garst said during a preliminary hearing in a Harrisonburg/Rockingham County General District courtroom. Robinson, 36, of DC, viewed pornography shortly after killing the two women, Garst said.

“They were used and thrown away,” Garst said of the women.

Harrisonburg/Rockingham General District Court Judge John Hart Jr. found there was enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury. Robinson faces two counts of first degree murder and two counts of concealing the body.

The hearing was the first major for a man who authorities say is a serial killer. Robinson is being investigated in three other murders in Fairfax County and DC, authorities said.

Louis Nagy, an attorney for Robinson, argued that prosecutors failed to show that Robinson killed Redmon or Smith, saying a medical examiner did not reach a definitive conclusion on the death of either other of the women and that the police did not know what happened inside the Howard Johnson hotel room.

“There is no evidence that this was a premeditated, cold-blooded murder,” Nagy said in court.

She posted an ad on a dating site. A suspected serial killer responded.

Robinson did not speak during the hearing and had a stern look on his face as he entered the courtroom wearing an orange and white striped jumpsuit. He is being held at Rockingham County Jail.

Harrisonburg Detective Brooke Wetherell said the case began as a missing person investigation. Redmon was last seen on October 24, 2021. Wetherell testified that Redmon’s friends and phone data put her last location at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Harrisonburg.

While still looking for Redmon, Wetherell told the courtroom that on Nov. 19, 2021, she was told by Charlottesville police that Smith was also missing and phone records put his last location in the same Howard Johnson Hotel.

Wetherell ultimately determined that the last call Redmon made was with Anthony Robinson, she testified. At the time, Robinson worked at a Pilgrim’s Pride chicken plant in Timberville, Virginia.

Wetherell said he obtained surveillance footage from the Howard Johnson that showed Redmon arriving at Robinson’s room around 6 p.m. the day she was last seen. The video showed Robinson removing what appeared to be a lifeless body from the hamper with white sheets and a gold duvet around 4 a.m. the next day, Wetherell said. The video also showed Robinson throwing away tennis shoes that appeared to belong to Redmon.

Wetherell said the surveillance video also showed Smith entering Robinson’s hotel room. but did not show her emerging alive. On Nov. 21, 2021, video showed Robinson pushing what appeared to be a body wrapped in a sheet away from the room into a shopping cart around 4 a.m.

Wetherell testified that he found the two bodies behind the hotel near a line of trees, about 15 feet apart. Redmon was found with her hands tied and a bag over her head and a rope around her neck, while Smith was found with a scratch on her head, the detective said. The two women were found on November 25, 2021.

A medical examiner determined that the two women had died of “lethal violence of unidentified etiology”, but suspected them of having been strangled or asphyxiated, given signs on the bodies and the bag placed on the head of Redmon and the cord around his neck.

Wetherell testified that she questioned Robinson in November 2021 about the deaths of the two women. She told the judge that Robinson told her he had met the women on the dating sites Tagged and Plenty of Fish. Wetherell testified that Robinson claimed that both women had died of overdoses and that he panicked after waking up to find them dead, so he quickly disposed of their bodies.

Garst flatly dismissed this account, calling Robinson’s hotel room a “house of horror” and saying the evidence indicated that he had killed both women.

Fairfax County Police said publicly, they linked Robinson to the murders of Cheyenne Brown, 29, of the district, and Stephanie Harrison, 48, of Redding, California. The bodies of the two women were found in a dumpster near the busy Route 1 corridor in the Alexandria area of ​​the county in December. During the times the women were missing, police said Robinson was staying at the Moon Inn hotel across the street from where the bodies of Brown and Harrison were found.

Police said they linked Brown to Robinson via cellphone and video evidence. She was last seen alive in September 2021. Harrison’s family last heard from her in mid-August 2021. Robinson has not been charged in either case.

DC police are investigating Robinson in the death of Sonya Champ, whose body was found in a shopping cart not far from Union Station in September 2021. Robinson has not been charged in Champ’s death.

The Post also reported Sunday that Prince George’s County police are reviewing the 2018 death of 30-year-old Skye Allen, to whom Robinson had been engaged. Her family found her barely breathing after spending the night with Robinson. Her death certificate indicates that she died of natural causes.

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