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'Shopping Cart Killer' case to go to grand jury in Harrisonburg

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Jernej Furman
/
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A man who's been dubbed the Shopping Cart Killer will go before a grand jury next week. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Defendant Anthony Eugene Robinson appeared in court in shackles on Monday on two counts of first degree murder and concealing the bodies of two women – Allene "Beth" Redmon of Harrisonburg and Tonita Lorece Smith of Charlottesville. The purpose of the hearing was for Judge John Hart to determine whether there was probable cause for the charges, which he did after about an hour and a half of testimony from Harrisonburg Police Detective Brooke Wetherell.

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Facebook photos
Allene "Beth" Redmon, left, and Tonita Lorece Smith, right.

Several relatives of Cheyenne Brown of Washington, D.C. were in attendance. The Fairfax County Police Department is investigating Robinson as a suspect in her death and that of Stephanie Harrison of Redding, California.

Wetherell testified that nine video clips from security footage showed Robinson entering his hotel room with Redmon on the evening of October 24th, then going by himself to retrieve a shopping cart around 4 a.m., and removing what appeared to be her body in the cart shortly after. She testified the videos show a similar series of events occurring with Smith in mid-November.

Their bodies were found about 15 feet apart in a wooded area behind the hotel on November 23rd.

The evidence also included autopsy photos and reports, in which the medical examiner declared the cause of death for both women as "homicidal violence" and possibly suffocation.

Wetherell said that when the police questioned Robinson, he claimed that both women had overdosed on "a white pill" while he was asleep.

Robinson's defense attorney, Louis Nagy, asked for one of the murder charges to be reduced to second degree homicide. But Hart stuck with the first degree charge, which by definition means that an attack was premeditated. Hart said there was strong evidence that the defendant, [quote], "had a methodical plan to kill these women."

The case now goes before a grand jury on September 19th.

Randi B. Hagi first joined the WMRA team in 2019 as a freelance reporter. Her writing and photography have been featured in The Harrisonburg Citizen, where she previously served as the assistant editor; as well as The Mennonite; Mennonite World Review; and Eastern Mennonite University's Crossroads magazine.
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