Herman Robinson was sentenced Wednesday to 100 years to life in prison for repeatedly raping a girl and killing the child she bore as result of the rapes.
The victim, now a young woman, had endured seven years of sexual abuse and watched her infant child killed before her eyes. The child’s body was never recovered by police.
The prosecutor invited Robinson to finally tell what he did with the infant’s body, but he wouldn’t. Robinson is a “classic sociopath” who cares for no one but himself, the prosecutor said.
Robinson did speak, but he professed his innocence, telling the court that he was no monster. His young victim and her mother walked out of the courtroom as he spoke. They returned after he spoke to hear the judge impose sentence.
When acting Schenectady County Court Judge Michael V. Coccoma did impose Robinson’s sentence, he said the evidence at trial excluded any possibility of Robinson’s innocence. As a result, the judge said that it was his intention to end Robinson’s “reign of terror.”
“I’ve come to just one conclusion,” Coccoma told Robinson. “This court must impose a sentence which prevents you from ever being a free person in any community again. In other words, a one-way ticket, which I intend to impose.”
Robinson, 39, of Schenectady, was convicted after trial in April of second-degree murder, predatory sexual assault against a child and six other counts. Coccoma decided the case himself at the request of the defense.
Coccoma listed each of Robinson’s sentences, including sentences that would run consecutively. Robinson will be long dead before he would ever be eligible for parole.
Coccoma found Robinson raped the victim from the age of 11 until the age of 18. She was 20 when she testified.
The judge also found Robinson fathered the baby with her when she was 14. Robinson ordered her to keep the pregnancy secret, and he delivered the baby. Moments after the March 2010 birth, Robinson struck the baby girl’s head to the floor twice, killing her.
The body of the infant child, later named Zaniyah Elise by her mother, was never found.
The infant’s existence was proved through the young woman’s testimony and through DNA locked in a mattress box spring for more than three years.
In asking Coccoma to impose the maximum sentence, prosecutor Tracey Brunecz told the judge that Robinson deserves no leniency.
Any leniency request from the defense, she said, was hollow in that it would include no expression of remorse for what Robinson put his young victim through and for the murder of the child.
The young woman, Brunecz said, will have to live with what Robinson did to her forever. The infant, the prosecutor added, does not live.
Brunecz also focused on Robinson’s own words in the December 2013 suicide note that touched off the entire investigation, that he repeatedly raped the girl and killed the infant.
For her part, the young woman has come out of her ordeal and is working to improve herself in college with plans to help others.
She spoke in court and to reporters briefly afterward. Her siblings and her mother were foremost in her thoughts, she said.
In court, she addressed the judge directly, turning to Robinson only to express the real costs of what he did. She also thanked the District Attorney’s Office for it did to help her.
She concluded her remarks by identifying herself by name and declared: “I am strong.”
To reporters afterward, she said she had faith that the District Attorney’s Office would ensure that Robinson would be put in prison for the rest of his life.
“That’s what he deserves,” the young woman said.
Robinson’s attorney Sven Paul argued for a lesser sentence, noting his client was offered 33 years to life pretrial. He said an appeal is expected.