Witnesses key in bail hearing for Lewiston murder suspect

AUBURN — A woman who served with Buddy Robinson in the Maine Army National Guard said Tuesday he texted her on July 1 to say he had badly hurt a woman and that she was dead.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Buddy Robinson looks around Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn on Tuesday. Robinson has been charged in the killing of Christiana Fesmire.

Rebecca Cornell de Houx testified during the third day of Robinson's harnish hearing, in which prosecutors are seeking to show a judge why he shouldn't be allowed bail.

Robinson, 30, of Lewiston was indicted in November on a murder charge in connection with the disappearance of Christiana Fesmire, 22, of Lewiston. She disappeared July 1. Her remains have not been recovered.

Cornell de Houx said Robinson sent him a spate of text messages the night of July 1 when he was staying at a hotel in Augusta. He told her things weren't going well. He said he had hurt somebody badly, but he didn't have to worry about her anymore. Asked why not, he said he would never see her again. When Cornell de Houx pressed him, Robinson said, "She's dead."

When she asked him if he was serious, Robinson took a moment to reply, then said he was joking.

He told her there were many things he wanted to tell her, but she couldn't repeat them to anyone for the rest of her life.

She was worried that he might be suicidal, she said. He told her he'd be all right and lightened up by the end of their exchange, she said.

When police contacted her months later, she held back information because he was a comrade in arms and she wanted to defend him. She eventually told police about Robinson's texts to clear her conscience, she said.

Cornell de Houx, who works as a mental health case manager, said she had continued to check in with Robinson by text after their July 1 correspondence. She was worried about his state of mind, she said.

In August, she and Robinson talked in a locker room about hypothetically being so angry with someone you could kill them, and discussed how to dispose of the body, she said.

Earlier in the day in Androscoggin County Superior Court, the boyfriend of Robinson's sister, Brandi, testified that Robinson said on July 1 he had wrapped Fesmire's body in a blanket and put her into the back of a black Lexus that was parked at the garage at 36 Highland Ave., where Robinson lived with his sister. Fesmire had lived downstairs.

Levi Gervais, Brandi Robinson's boyfriend at the time, said he was upstairs with both Robinsons when Buddy said: "I've been thinking about this all day. Just let me go and get it done."

Gervais said his stomach turned when he heard those words and he ran to the bathroom. Later, Buddy Robinson was gone. The garage door was open and the Lexus was gone, Gervais said.

Gervais, who had been smoking pot that day, said he told Brandi, "If this actually happened, I don't want to have anything to do with it."

He said, "the surrealism there was so bad" when he realized what had happened and that Buddy Robinson was disposing of the body, that he "pretty much smoked myself silly at that point."

That night, Gervais drove a Cadillac towing a U-Haul trailer with Brandi Robinson to Augusta. Buddy Robinson drove the Lexus, then met up with Brandi and Gervais and stayed at a Super 8 motel. The next day, they left the Lexus at a Walmart where Buddy Robinson bought bleach and a package of car sanitizers that he distributed in the Lexus. The three drove in the Cadillac to Presque Isle to retrieve Buddy Robinson's belongings that he had left there while he was at school.

When they returned to Lewiston, Gervais dropped off the trailer and the group went camping with Brandi Robinson's son, Michael.

At the campsite, Buddy Robinson built a campfire in which he burned pieces of a blanket retrieved from the trunk of the Lexus, Gervais said. He said he assumed it was the same blanket Robinson had wrapped around Fesmire.

Gervais said being with the Robinsons became increasingly stressful.

He grew increasingly afraid for his own safety, as well as for the safety of his family, because of what he knew, Gervais said.

Asked if he had anything to do with Fesmire's murder or its aftermath, Gervais said: "I did not."

He said he finally told detectives all he knew after they assured him they would protect him and that they knew who killed Fesmire.

A third witness, Pamela McClendon, said she had visited the apartment at 36 Highland Ave. on July 1 with her boyfriend, Tim. He brought Gervais some marijuana.

While at the apartment that day, Brandi Robinson told her "something really bad's happened." She said her brother and Fesmire had gotten into a "tiff, things got carried away and he killed her and she was in the trunk of the car."

"I was shocked," McClendon said. "I really thought it was more of a story that she was telling me."

She said Brandi Robinson was scared and didn't know what to do.

"She was worried for her brother. She didn't want him to get into trouble," McClendon said.

She suggested that Robinson keep her "hands as clean as she could."

Although Robinson was visibly upset, McClendon was doubtful that Robinson was telling the truth.

"She's such a storyteller," McClendon said.

She went downstairs and peeked into the first-floor apartment, where Fesmire reportedly was killed.

"I didn't notice anything in disarray at all," she said. She went into the basement and noticed the clothes dryer was running, thinking it odd, she said.

It wasn't until later when her boyfriend noticed TV reports of Fesmire's disappearance that McClendon grew uncomfortable with her knowledge.

Edward "Ted" Dilworth cross-examined the witnesses, focusing on the veracity of Brandi Robinson.

"I didn't believe it to be true at all," McClendon said of Brandi's recounting of events about Fesmire's death that day.

Gervais said of Brandi Robinson: "She kind of would make me believe what she wanted me to believe."

He told detectives that his former girlfriend could be manipulative and lied.

Lewiston police Detective Roland Godbout said he was talking to Buddy Robinson at his Sabattus home in September. Robinson, who was seated on the couch, was nervous and sweating, Godbout said. He told Robinson he was planning to find Fesmire. Robinson said he was "so stressed out that he couldn't remember where he put her, then got up and went to the bathroom and began to vomit," Godbout said.

The hearing is expected to continue next week.

cwilliams@sunjournal.com

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Jeff Laflam's picture

In all honesty I believe

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