Schenectady County

Defense presses alleged victim in Schenectady rape, murder trial

The defense attorney for accused rapist and killer Herman Robinson focused questioning of Robinson’s

The defense attorney for accused rapist and killer Herman Robinson focused questioning of Robinson’s alleged victim Tuesday on the details of her account of years of abuse and her baby’s secret life and death.

Attorney Sven Paul questioned the young woman on how she could recall exactly when the alleged abuse began and how she could be in a position to see her baby move after giving birth, among other areas.

The young woman held fast to her testimony of the abuse she said she silently endured for more than seven years. When the abuse started is important in establishing one of the top counts against Robinson — predatory sexual assault against a child. If convicted on that charge alone, Robinson would face up to 25 years to life in prison.

“It started in sixth grade, continued on until seventh grade and on and on,” the woman, now 20, said. Robinson, 38, is accused of repeatedly raping a girl over the course of years, fathering a child with her when she was 15 and killing the infant moments after it was secretly born in an Albany Street apartment March 11, 2010.

No one knew of any of the allegations until Robinson attempted suicide in December 2013, leaving a note that referenced both the rape of the girl and killing of the baby.

The woman testified Monday that after Robinson’s 2014 indictment she finally was able to give the infant a name: Daniyah. She referred to the baby again by her name Tuesday.

If convicted on the top two counts against him, Robinson would face potential consecutive sentences of 25 years to life in prison.

The woman testified Monday under questioning from prosecutor Tracey Brunecz. She wrapped up her testimony Tuesday morning with cross-examination from Paul and direct questioning from Judge Michael Coccoma.

Coccoma is hearing the case without a jury. He is to ultimately decide whether or not Robinson is guilty.

Coccoma questioned the woman on details of the her account of abuse and the day of the baby’s death. She described the abuse as sexual intercourse, but when pressed for her own words, she wouldn’t use the term “sexual intercourse.”

“I would have to say that I was being raped,” the woman told to the judge.

She told the judge she went to sleep after Robinson allegedly left the apartment with the dead baby.

She said Robinson provided her with adult diapers to deal with residual bleeding.

Under questioning by Paul, the woman said she was certain she learned she was pregnant by Robinson the summer of 2009. Paul suggested his client was away for long stretches that summer. But the woman said she was certain he was only gone for two weeks early on.

“It was a very long summer,” the woman said, referring to the ongoing abuse she suffered then. “It is also the summer I found out I was pregnant, so it is a summer that you don’t forget.”

If convicted of the other top count against him, second-degree murder, Robinson would also face 25 years to life in prison.

Paul also focused on the woman’s testimony that she saw the newborn take breaths. Proof of the baby being born alive is important to the murder charge.

Paul questioned how she sat as she gave birth, suggesting she couldn’t have seen the baby move as she testified she saw it.

He also focused on her grand jury testimony that didn’t include seeing the baby take a breath as she briefly held it when Robinson left the room. She testified Tuesday that the newborn girl’s chest was moving “very, very slightly.”

Paul’s line of questioning did not address her earlier testimony that she had heard the baby’s brief cry before Robinson slammed the baby’s head into the carpet.

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

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