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Prosecutors to seek maximum for Schenectady child rapist, baby killer

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Prosecutors to seek maximum for Schenectady child rapist, baby killer

The man convicted of repeatedly raping a girl and then killing the baby he fathered with her should
Prosecutors to seek maximum for Schenectady child rapist, baby killer
Herman Robinson confers with his attorney Sven Paul in Supreme Court prior to the verdict Friday, April 24, 2015.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

The man convicted of repeatedly raping a girl and then killing the baby he fathered with her should never have the opportunity to get out of prison, prosecutors are expected to argue Wednesday.

Prosecutor Tracey Brunecz outlined her argument in a memorandum filed ahead of today’s sentencing of Herman Robinson. Robinson was convicted in April of the repeated rape of the girl and the murder of their infant daughter, who was later named Zaniyah Elise.

In her memorandum, Brunecz argued Robinson should be shown no leniency and the maximum possible total sentence of 100 years to life should be imposed.

“There are no crimes more serious or horrific as the ones for which the defendant was convicted,” Brunecz wrote. “He not only stole the life of Zaniyah Elise, who was only alive for a matter of minutes, but he robbed [the young victim] of her child and her childhood.”

Zaniyah Elise is the name the young woman gave to her infant child four years later, after Robinson’s arrest.

Robinson, 39, of Schenectady, was convicted after trial in April of second-degree murder, predatory sexual assault against a child and six other counts. Possible consecutive sentences put the total maximum sentence at 100 years to life.

Judge Michael Coccoma decided the case himself at the request of the defense. Coccoma found Robinson raped the victim from age 11 until age 18. She was 20 when she testified.

The judge also found Robinson fathered the baby with her when she was 14. He 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.

Coccoma is to decide Robinson’s sentence this afternoon.

Robinson has been in custody since his December 2013 arrest.

Robinson’s attorney, Sven Paul, filed his own sentencing memorandum, in which he recounted his client’s upbringing. That account included frequent relocations, depression and suicide attempts that started at age 12.

He also noted a back injury Robinson suffered in 2006 and substance abuse that caused him to “essentially lapse into a fog.”

“A review of the life history of the defendant and the many hardships he has endured must lead the court to show leniency in the sentencing of Herman Robinson,” Paul wrote.

Paul did not ask for a specific sentence in his memorandum.

Brunecz responded to Paul’s memorandum by noting Robinson is not the victim and his actions \should rule out any leniency. “The defendant at least had an upbringing,” Brunecz wrote. “Zaniyah never will. Zaniyah and [the young woman] are the victims and a sentence that equals the one the defendant gave them should be imposed on him.”

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