Herman Robinson, the man accused of a lengthy list of heinous crimes ranging from child rape to baby murder, was convicted on all counts Friday afternoon.
Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Michael Coccoma found Robinson guilty of murder, predatory sexual assault against a child and six other counts. Together, the 39-year-old Robinson faces a maximum sentence of 100 years to life in prison.
Present for the verdict and supported by her mother was the young woman who for years had been tormented by Robinson. The young woman suffered repeated rapes as well as the murder of her infant daughter at the hands of Robinson.
At a post-verdict press conference, Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney expressed his office’s “immense gratitude to a very courageous young woman.”
She endured so much for so long, and “then came into this courthouse and told the world what he had done to her,” Carney said. “She is strong, bright and she is very brave.”
In reading his verdict, Coccoma found that Robinson raped the victim from the age of 11 until she was 18. She is now 20.
Robinson fathered a baby with her when she was 14, ordered her to keep the pregnancy secret and then delivered the baby, only to strike the baby girl’s head to the floor twice, killing her.
Robinson is to be sentenced May 27 and is expected to now spend the rest of his life in prison.
Robinson showed no emotion as Coccoma rendered his verdicts. His attorney, Sven Paul, declined to comment afterward.
Friday’s verdict was the culmination of a case that began 17 months earlier, when the victim told her abuser the abuse would end. Robinson responded by leaving a suicide note and moving to take his own life, but survived.
The trial lasted nearly three weeks. The young woman gave often-emotional testimony over three of those days.
During the trial prosecutors produced Robinson’s suicide note, in which he admitted to both raping the girl and killing the infant. They also had letters he wrote in jail in which he confirmed the abuse.
Evidence included medical experts confirming the pregnancy and the existence of DNA found in a box spring of a girl whose mother was the young woman and father was Robinson. The DNA was found 31⁄2 years after the birth of the child.
“The medical evidence in this case gave us the birth of a child,” prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham said. “The DNA evidence gave that child an existence.”
The young woman’s mother, who often worked double shifts to support her family, was not aware of what was happening to her daughter. The victim testified she kept the abuse quiet out of fear of what Robinson might do and to shield her siblings and mother from harm by Robinson.
Both the young woman and her mother attended the post-verdict press conference, continuing to hold hands through much of it. They gave no statement and remained in the rear of the room, away from cameras.
After all the cameras left, the woman approached Tremante-Pelham, co-prosecutor Tracey Brunecz and Carney. She gave each long hugs.
Brunecz said the young woman is continuing in college and studying criminal justice. She has a boyfriend, and she intends to help others who have gone through the same abuse she did. She is also focusing on her siblings and her mother.
“This is somebody who is like a phoenix, has risen from ashes and is now living,” Brunecz said. “And that’s exactly what she is doing now. She is living.”
During the press conference, Brunecz thanked a long list of people and agencies who contributed to the verdict, including city police Detective Joseph McCabe, the lead investigator on the case.
Brunecz gave special thanks to friends and family of the victim. They rallied around the young woman and gave her the strength and courage to get through the ordeal, Brunecz said.
“She didn’t realize the amount of courage she had until friends and family supported her,” Brunecz said. “For that, she is eternally grateful, as are we.”