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Prosecution rests in retrial of ex-LR officer

Jury expected to begin deliberating Tuesday

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published June 17, 2014 at 11:16 a.m. Updated June 17, 2014 at 12:06 p.m.

Randall Robinson

Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday in the retrial of a former Little Rock police officer accused of escorting what they say he thought was a shipment of marijuana.

Defense attorneys for ex-officer Randall Robinson, meanwhile, told U.S. District Judge Brian Miller they will not call any witnesses.

Miller dismissed jurors until 2 p.m. and called the attorneys back at 1 p.m. to discuss motions and jury instructions. After the panel of eight women and four men is read the instructions and hears closing arguments from both sides, they will begin deliberations in the case.

Robinson is accused of helping another Little Rock officer escort a van hauling what they believed was a large package of marijuana. It was actually part of an undercover FBI investigation that resulted in the arrests of the two officers, Robinson and his half-brother, Mark Jones. Jones pleaded guilty to one of the charges against him and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

Robinson is facing charges of conspiracy to aid and abet the possession with intent to distribute marijuana, attempting to aid and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, failing to report a crime, using a telephone in a drug crime and lying to investigators.

Prosecutors rested Tuesday after testimony from several Little Rock officers and FBI agents. They detailed surveillance conducted during the investigation, including aerial videos of Robinson's police sport utility vehicle following a white van that was purported to have marijuana in it.

11:16 a.m. update: Jury sees video from patrol car

Testimony entered a second day Tuesday in the retrial of a former Little Rock police officer accused of escorting what prosecutors say he thought was a shipment of marijuana.

In the morning session of the retrial of Randall Robinson, the jury of eight women and four men heard from Little Rock police officers and watched a video that was recorded on a dash cam mounted in a patrol car.

Robinson, while on duty in 2012, is accused of helping another Little Rock officer escort a van hauling what they believed was a large package of marijuana. It was actually part of an undercover FBI investigation that resulted in the arrests of the two officers.

A jury last July was deadlocked on three counts tied to those allegations, though the panel did find Robinson guilty of distributing a half-pound of marijuana in 2009.

On Tuesday, jurors saw a dash-cam video recorded by another officer the morning of the March 22, 2012 sting that showed the officer responding to a call of a man with a gun on St. James Court who had opened fire, hitting at least one of three victims.

At one point in the nine-minute video of the officer's response, a police sport utility vehicle driven by Robinson is seen traveling the opposite direction behind a white van.

Two police officers who took the stand Tuesday morning, Lt. Scott Timmons and Capt. Ty Tyrrell, said Robinson should have responded to a higher-priority call.

"A hostage situation with shots fired is just about as high as it gets," Tyrrell said.

Timmons testified the only reason Robinson shouldn't have responded would have been if he had "an overriding concern," like two officers who didn't go because they were out with a dead body recovered that morning in Boyle Park. He noted Robinson was assigned to the patrol district immediately west of the hostage call.

Defense attorney Bill James countered by noting that Robinson was never formally dispatched to the hostage incident or called there later by his supervisors.

"Nobody's on the radio screaming 'Randall, get to St. James, where you at?'" James said, noting Robinson also wasn't disciplined for not going and may not have been aware of how close he was to the call.

Robinson is facing charges of conspiracy to aid and abet the possession with intent to distribute marijuana, attempting to aid and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, failing to report a crime, using a telephone in a drug crime and lying to investigators. The trial is scheduled to last four days.

The other officer in the case, Mark Anthony Jones, who is Robinson's half-brother, pleaded guilty to one of the charges against him and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

In opening statements Monday, James said Jones didn't tell Robinson what was going on he didn't know he was helping escort a purported drug shipment when Jones asked him to help, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

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