Eddie Robinson was sentenced to death by the State of North Carolina for a triple murder in 1984. According to court documents Eddie Robinson was hired to kill James Elwell Worley by his wife Shelia Worley. After Eddie Robinson would murder Worley he would later murder Shelia Worley and her four year old daughter as Worley failed to pay him.
Eddie Robinson partner Elton McLaughlin would also be convicted of the triple murders. Both men would be convicted and sentenced to death. Elton McLaughlin would be taken off of death row in 2006 due to a mental impairment
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On 26 March 1984 at approximately 2:00 a.m., Dan Alford, a volunteer firefighter who lived in the White’s Creek Community of Bladen County, noticed a fire down the highway from his residence. Upon investigation, he found that the interior of a small car, which was parked on the right shoulder of the highway, was in flames. Alford left and immediately returned with a fire truck and another volunteer.
After the two men extinguished the flames, they found a badly burned body in the passenger area of the car. The resulting autopsy, conducted at the Office of the Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill, revealed that James Worley had been shot twice in the left chest and was dead at the time of the fire. Forensic testing later established that clothing scraps found in the car contained gasoline.
Early on the morning of 30 April 1984, Kent Allen, while driving towards White’s Creek in the Lisban Community, noticed an automobile sitting off the road at the bridge with the rear end of the car on the creek bank and the front tires in the water. Allen found a woman’s body floating faceup in the creek beside the car and a small child in diapers standing in the front seat of the car looking at the body and crying for her mother. After law enforcement officers arrived at the scene, the body of a young girl was found floating in the creek downstream from the vehicle. Autopsies were conducted at the Chief Medical Examiner’s office in Chapel Hill, and each autopsy indicated death by drowning secondary to blunt trauma of the head.
Following the arrest of Elton McLaughlin, authorities arrested defendant on 9 May 1984. On 10 May 1984, Eddie Robinson, after waiving his Miranda rights, gave a statement describing the murder of James Worley. Eddie Robinson indicated he first met McLaughlin in March of 1984 in a pool hall in Elizabethtown, North Carolina. McLaughlin told defendant he had been hired by a woman to kill her husband and needed defendant to assist him. McLaughlin later told defendant he would receive between fifteen hundred and three thousand dollars for his participation in the murder.
The two men first attempted to kill James Worley on the Sunday after they met. McLaughlin had a .22 rifle, a plastic jug of gasoline, and a metal pipe. He told defendant the gasoline was to set Worley’s car on fire. After driving to Worley’s residence in New Town, they parked on a dirt road and walked towards the house. The plan was aborted when an automobile pulled up across the street from Worley’s house and the driver sat in the car for several minutes with the lights on.
The next Sunday night, the two again drove to Worley’s home but did not stop because McLaughlin decided that something was wrong. The following Saturday, the two men met at McLaughlin’s trailer and discussed a revised plan. McLaughlin told defendant he had spoken with the victim’s wife and that she would leave the back door of the house open the next evening.
On Sunday, 26 March 1984, McLaughlin and defendant drove to Worley’s home at approximately 11:30 p.m. After parking along the dirt road, they walked towards the house and entered through the back door. Upon locating the bedroom, McLaughlin fired two shots into Worley’s chest; he tried to fire again but *200 the rifle jammed. The victim’s wife got out of bed and waited in the hallway while McLaughlin and defendant removed the body and placed it in the passenger side of Worley’s Volkswagen. Following McLaughlin, defendant drove the Volkswagen to the Lisban area where they doused the vehicle with gasoline and ignited it.
Defendant also described the events leading up to and including the murders of Denise Worley and Psoma Baggett. Defendant stated that late in April 1984, McLaughlin told him the victim’s wife had been talking to the authorities and that they needed to kill her. After initially telling the officers that Denise Worley was already dead when he arrived at McLaughlin’s trailer on 29 April 1984, defendant admitted he actually hid in a bedroom of the trailer and waited for Denise Worley to arrive at McLaughlin’s trailer.
At some point, McLaughlin showed defendant a metal pipe and told him that, once the lights were turned out, defendant was to kill Denise using the pipe. When the lights went out, defendant found McLaughlin and Denise standing in the hallway kissing. Defendant hit her twice in the back of the head with the pipe and then dragged her to the bathroom where he held her head underwater in the bathtub for five to ten minutes. After cleaning up the blood, the two men placed the body in the trunk of her own car.
They awakened her two children, Alicia and Psoma, who were asleep in the living room, and drove to a field approximately a half mile from White’s Creek bridge. Having decided to kill Psoma because she was old enough to identify them, McLaughlin struck the child twice from behind with a pipe and then placed her body in the front seat of her mother’s car. They moved Denise’s body from the trunk and placed it beside Psoma. Psoma’s feet continued to move so McLaughlin handed defendant the pipe and instructed him to hit her yet a third time. The baby Alicia, was placed unharmed in the car with the bodies of her mother and sister. Defendant then drove the automobile to the edge of the embankment near the bridge and let it roll into the creek. Defendant pulled Denise Worley’s body out of the car and threw Psoma out of the car into the water.
The State presented the physical evidence and then rested its case after introducing State’s Exhibit No. 42, a certified copy of the judgment entered in Colorado on 28 October 1969 wherein defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment upon his plea of guilty to the charge of first-degree murder.
On defendant’s behalf, Dr. Patricio Lara, a psychiatrist at Dorothea Dix, testified he had examined defendant in 1984 pursuant to a court order. Relying on several personal interviews, a previous psychiatric report compiled in Colorado, medical records, school records, and psychological tests, Dr. Lara testified defendant had the equivalent of a seventh grade education and an IQ of 82, which is in the low average or dull normal range of intelligence.
When defendant was two years old, his mother left him in the care of relatives; he never knew his father. Dr. Lara noted that the psychological effect of separating a young child from its mother at such a young age is particularly damaging. Testing revealed that defendant suffered from a personality disorder characterized by aggressive action. Generally, personality disorders may be described as persistent maladaptive patterns of behavior substantially affecting the way the individual deals with stress and interacts with other people.
Detective Little testified that defendant had been very cooperative with investigating authorities and that he was not given a deal for testifying in the murder trial of Elton McLaughlin. The parties stipulated that defendant testified truthfully on behalf of the State in McLaughlin’s prosecution.
With respect to the murders of Denise Worley and Psoma Baggett, three aggravating circumstances were submitted to the jury: (i) defendant was previously convicted of a felony involving the use of violence to the person, N.C.G.S. § 15A-2000(e)(3); (ii) the murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest, N.C.G.S. § 15A-2000(e)(4); and (iii) the murder *201 was part of a course of conduct in which defendant engaged and which included the commission of other crimes of violence against other persons, N.C.G.S. § 15A-2000(e)(11). The jury found the existence of all three circumstances in these two murders.