Murder case awaits plea


CONEJOS — Murder suspect Michael Robinson, 33, will likely enter a plea in district court in May, his attorney Public Defender Amanda Hopkins told Chief District Judge Pattie Swift on Thursday.

Robinson, who remains in custody, appeared in court with several members of his defense counsel including Hopkins. Judge Swift continued his first appearance until May 18 when Hopkins indicated Robinson would likely enter a plea.

Robinson is charged with first-degree murder and numerous other charges including tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse in connection with the June 2016 death of his step-grandfather James Sprouse, 77. Sprouse’s remains were recovered from a freezer in the residence and former family business in Romeo where Robinson had been staying with Sprouse.

Hopkins told Judge Swift on Thursday that the defense team recently received a report regarding DNA on various pieces of evidence, and the team is in the process of having those analyzed by an expert to see if there are substantive motions they would need to file regarding them. She added that once the team receives its expert’s report on the DNA issue, they would be prepared to enter a plea in this case. She asked for a May date for that plea entry.

Hopkins said the defense filed some motions the day before including requests for evidence and expert disclosure.

Appearing for the prosecution, Chief Trial Deputy District Attorney Ashley Fetyko said although the DA’s office would like this case to move more rapidly than it has, she understood the reasons for the continuance and she hoped this would be the final continuance of the first appearance.

Robinson is accused of bludgeoning Sprouse to death sometime between June 3 and 12, 2016 at the residence they shared for a time behind a small former grocery store in Romeo, wrapping his body in plastic and stuffing the body into an unused freezer and taking off with Sprouse’s vehicle. After Sprouse’s body was found in the spring of 2017, Robinson was arrested on April 28 of that year in Indio, California on first-degree murder and related charges. A county court preliminary hearing was held in November 2017, and Robinson’s case advanced to district court.

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