Mugger pleads guilty

Flanked by his attorneys in Prince William Circuit Court, Renardo Robinson, 18, turned and faced the 60-year-old Lake Ridge woman he admitted knocking to the ground and robbing outside Kohl’s store in Foulger Square, Dale City Jan. 13.

“I’m sorry for what I did. It was wrong,” said Robinson, of 4107 Cardinal Crest Drive.

Robinson pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and robbery upon Lois Battistoni.

“You did a terrible, despicable thing. This is the act of a coward. You turn around and face her,” said Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr.

Robinson also pleaded guilty to an assault and battery charge in an unrelated Feb. 18 attack upon two Michaels Arts and Crafts Store clerks behind the Woodbridge store at 14260 Smoketown Road. An aggravated malicious wounding charge, a robbery charge, two use or display of a firearm charges and three shooting at an occupied vehicle charges against Robinson relating to the robbing of Michael Blanchard, 21, and shooting of Taft Nesbitt, 19, were dropped by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney James Willett.

Robinson’s testimony was central to the prosecution’s case against Ralph Taylor, 18, as the trigger man in the Michaels shooting. Taylor, of 14501 Fullerton Road, Dale City, was convicted of nine felonies including attempted capital murder Aug. 21.

Alston will sentence Robinson Feb. 20. Robinson faces five years to life imprisonment for the robbery charge, one to 10 years for the conspiracy charge, and up to 12 months imprisonment for the assault and battery charge.

“The apology doesn’t help the fact I have a broken shoulder. I looked right through him. Nothing is going to bring my life back the way it was,” said Battistoni after Robinson’s trial. Battistoni said she also suffered further injury to a leg she had surgery on shortly before the attack, as well as cuts and bruises to her face, hands and back.

“It was a violent attack. There was blood all over the street,” Battistoni said. She continues to have nightmares and said she is taking medication for post-traumatic stress syndrome. While she said she understood Alston’s demand for an apology from Robinson as a step toward healing, she said her greatest help has come from a program called Victim Witness. A representative attended all her court dates and took her to a victims’ vigil. Battistoni was also relieved that Alston revoked Robinson’s bond until his sentencing.

One of Robinson’s attorneys, Michael L. Sprano, argued against revoking Robinson’s bond, saying Robinson had gained employment as a newspaper carrier and had enrolled in a correspondence school to get his high school diploma.

“This is a young man with no prior record. He picked up all these charges while hanging out with a group of individuals. He strayed from the path he was on,” Sprano said.

The prosecution alleges that Robinson was a principal in the attack upon Battistoni, while Nana Kobina Owusu, 18, of 2788 Bixby Road, Woodbridge, acted as a backup. Owusu pleaded guilty Sept. 19 to charges as a co-defendant in the robbery of Battistoni and the attack upon the Michaels Arts and Crafts employees. Owusu will be sentenced in December; Taylor will be sentenced Nov. 14.

The attack behind Michaels took place as employees Michael Blanchard and Taft Nesbitt were taking out trash to a bin behind the store. Taylor, Owusu and Robinson approached Nesbitt and Blanchard and demanded their jackets and wallets at gunpoint. Taylor then forced the victims to their knees and shot Nesbitt in the chest. Nesbitt survived but lost his spleen, among other injuries. Blanchard was punched and let go.

Similar Posts