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Witness offers slaying account
By SUE CARLTON
© St. Petersburg Times, published July 2, 1999
TAMPA -- From the mouth of a murder-defendant-turned-star-witness comes a cold account of how Vicki Robinson died: Her 15-year-old daughter's boyfriend attacked her inside her Carrollwood home, according to the witness. Her daughter held her down, he said. There was a syringe filled with bleach. There was a knife.
But even in 84 pages of graphic testimony released Thursday, there are no answers to the haunting questions of Robinson's murder a year ago.
How could this suburban single mom, real estate agent and churchgoer come to die on her kitchen floor? How could her child, according to the witness, help to wash the blood of her own mother from her boyfriend's hands?
"I'm glad mom's dead," state witness Jon Whispel quoted Valessa Robinson as saying after her mother's murder. "... Now I can do whatever I want."
Adam Davis, who was Valessa's boyfriend, and Whispel each faced the death penalty. But this week Whispel pleaded guilty to reduced charges of second-degree murder and grand theft. Sentenced to 25 years in prison, he has agreed to testify at their trials in the fall.
Valessa, a rebellious teenager, had vowed she wouldn't be separated from Davis, a drifter with a string of arrests. Mrs. Robinson struggled to keep her youngest daughter on the right path and planned to send her to a school for troubled children.
Whispel, 20, told prosecutors this week that they were high on acid at Denny's, musing on what to do, when Valessa got an idea that had her smiling and jumping up and down.
"Let's kill my mom," Whispel quoted her as saying. "And Adam's like, "What?'... And he's like, "Okay.' "
Later, in Valessa's bedroom, Davis took a syringe he bought for $2 at a party and filled it with Mrs. Robinson's household bleach, Whispel said. "Half air bubble, half bleach should do the trick," he quoted Davis as saying.
He said Davis and Valessa went to her mom's bedroom, Valessa armed with a penlight so they could see where to put the needle. But they came back when she woke up. She was surprised to see the boys there and told Valessa to get her sleeping bag, indicating she wanted her daughter to sleep elsewhere.
Davis followed Mrs. Robinson into the kitchen, Whispel said. He heard gasping, choking, and he and Valessa ran in. He said Valessa asked, "What do we do?"
"Give me the syringe," he said Adam told her. Valessa was "all afraid ... screaming, "I can't find the syringe, Adam.' "
Adam was kneeling and holding Mrs. Robinson in a sleeper-type hold as she struggled and coughed, Whispel said. "And (Davis) says, "Valessa, come out here and hold your mom down so I can get the syringe,' " Whispel said.
"She went out there, straddled her mom, sat down on her...she's like "Hurry up ... she's trying to get up.' " He said Valessa was "pounding with her fists on her mom."
When Davis had the syringe, Mrs. Robinson asked, "What are you doing? What are you doing?" Whispel said. After Davis injected her neck, she asked, "What was that?" he said.
He said Davis said it wasn't working, so Whispel grabbed Davis' knife.
"Here," Whispel said, "use this."
He wasn't sure if Davis or Valessa grabbed it. Whispel said he witnessed the rest from the bedroom, the stabbing, the sounds, the blood. He said Davis tried to break her neck. Davis came into the bedroom, bloody hands held out, knife held limply, Whispel said.
"You need to wash your hands," Whispel said Valessa told her boyfriend, and went in the bathroom to help him.
They sat smoking cigarettes, not saying much, when a they heard a moan, he said.
"Adam said, "This b---- won't die,' " and went back to finish her off, Whispel said.
Davis told Valessa to stay in the bedroom while they cleaned and asked her if she was all right "because at that point she didn't look ... too happy, too sad, too ... nothing."
Whispel said he and Davis shoved the body headfirst into a garbage can and loaded it into Mrs. Robinson's minivan. They considered throwing it in the water and tried to bury it, but ultimately left it in the woods, covered with palm fronds. He said they tossed the syringe in the woods.
They found Mrs. Robinson's ATM and credit cards, he said, and Valessa knew the codes because her mother always used the same numbers. They scrubbed away the blood and threw the knife and wet mops in a trash bin, Whispel said.
They drove to Pasco County to see Davis' father's grave, Whispel said. Davis suggested they go to Australia but discarded the idea as too expensive, and finally settled on Canada with a stop in Phoenix, Whispel said. For days, they stayed in cheap motels and hung out in Ybor City to buy Ecstacy, LSD, cocaine and marijuana. They used Mrs. Robinson's money for CDs by Insane Clown Posse and Korn and eyeglasses for Whispel. They paid to spiff up a tattoo of the letter "A' for Adam on Valessa's hand, to pierce Whispel's eyebrow, to tattoo a joker on Davis' arm.
© St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.
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