Man Accused of Setting Woman on Fire Could Face Death Penalty

Robbi Robinson Jr. is accused of setting a woman on fire in her home in Fairfield Twp. last month. His case is going back to the grand jury.

Brenda Scott, who was 50 and from Liberty Twp., died from her injuries on May 11. It is now being treated as a murder case. The police said that she jumped from the second floor of the burning house.

Prosecutors say that aggravated murder with the death sentence will be one of the charges that could be brought against Robinson.

Police and investigators say that the suspect beat Scott and then set him on fire. Robinson, who is 23 years old, is in the Butler County Jail because he has a $1 million bond.

On May 11, a neighbor saw Scott on fire in her garden and called 911. Robinson was caught by the police as he was running away from the house.

Robinson was first charged with trying to kill someone seriously, as well as with felony attack and serious arson.

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Michael Gmoser, the prosecutor for Butler County, said Monday that the case will be given to a grand jury to decide if murder charges should be brought. The proof from the investigation suggests that one of those charges could be aggravated murder with a death sentence if found guilty.

Gmoser pointed to parts of the crime that fit the death requirement. For example, a previous estimate said that Robinson hit Scott in the face and splashed him with an accelerant in a bedroom on the second floor.

At Robinson’s first court appearance, his lawyer, David Brewer, pleaded not guilty and said he had filed a move questioning his client’s ability to stand trial. Judge Keith Spaeth ordered a forensic psychological exam and set a hearing date for June 15.

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Katie Pridemore asked the judge to set a high price. She explained that Scott had been hurt in a lot of ways, including having two teeth knocked out by the roots and getting burned and hurt when he jumped out of a second-story window.

Robinson may have had “suicidal thoughts” when he was arrested, and phone calls to family while he was in the Butler County Jail show that he tried to reach out to the victim, Pridemore said.

“The charges are now much more serious than the two charges that were brought before a lower court,” Pridemore said. “The charges are very bad, and he is a danger to society and the victim in particular.”

In jail-monitored phone calls, Robinson said, “I want someone to go into the hospital room, talk to the victim, talk her out of prosecuting, and get her to drop the charges.” Pridemore said.

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At 10:25 a.m. on May 11, Scott was in a bedroom of the house on Arroyo Ridge Court when she was hit in the face. According to McCroskey and court papers, the woman was then doused with an accelerant and set on fire.

A neighbor called 911 and climbed over a fence to help.

“I see a little fire next to her and she is laying in the backyard,” the man told the dispatcher. “She is talking to me. She is hurt bad.”

The woman can be heard in the background saying, ”he set me on fire.”

The suspect, who was still in the residence, used gasoline, she said.

Then the caller said he saw smoke coming from the house.

“He set the house on fire too, oh my God,” the caller said.

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