Man held in slaying of woman in home Victim fed homeless

suspect has long record

January 16, 1998|By Peter Hermann and Jamie Smith | Peter Hermann and Jamie Smith,SUN STAFF

James Connell "Speedy" Robinson -- who has been arrested 16 times since 1980 and has been convicted of drug possession, assault, theft and burglary -- is once again in jail.

The 36-year-old man, who lives in the 1800 block of Orleans St., is being held without bail in the slaying Tuesday of a woman who fed the homeless in her East Monument Street home.

Robinson was charged with first-degree murder and robbery in the slaying of Evelyn Krebs, 56, whose body was found lying face down on her living room floor by her daughter. Police said Krebs had been hit in the head. Two cracked iron skillets were found nearby.

Krebs' killing has angered her neighbors in the 3000 block of E. Monument St., who watched as she cooked for and fed any needy person who knocked on her distinctive blue door. Jody Walston, who lives two doors from the victim, said the suspect had been a frequent visitor.

"She felt sorry for them, so she'd feed them," said Walston, who had warned Krebs of the danger and tried to get her to stop inviting people into her home. "She didn't have much money. She was on welfare. She always had food, though."

Krebs looked after the Walstons' two sons -- Scott, 4, and Dale, 2 1/2 -- every day while the parents worked. She left the Walstons' house about 5: 30 p.m. and was found dead a short time later.

"I watched her go into her front door and she blew a kiss to the boys like she always does," Walston said yesterday. "Half an hour later, her daughter found her. I was the last one to see her alive."

In June 1989, Robinson was charged with killing Helen Taylor, whose body was found in Robinson's rented rowhouse in the 1600 block of N. Broadway. Police said Robinson's 70-year-old grandmother had been hit in the head with a hammer. Her body was found by her daughter.

A jury acquitted Robinson of murder in November 1989, but details of the case could not be learned yesterday. The suspect's lawyer at the time, Warren A. Brown, said he didn't remember the case, and the court file couldn't immediately be retrieved.

In the Krebs case, police said interviews with neighborhood residents led them to suspect Robinson. Officers arrested him on Orleans Street near his home.

Court documents filed yesterday say that robbery was the TTC apparent motive in the attack. Detective Oscar L. Requer said in the documents that jewelry was found missing and that items belonging to Krebs were found in the suspect's pockets when he was arrested. The rowhouse had been ransacked.

The court papers also say that blood was found on Robinson's shoes and clothes, and that the suspect gave detectives a taped statement in which he denied any involvement in the beating.

Walston's husband, Robert, said he planned to move. "We're going to board this place [up] and get out of here," he said. "[Krebs] helped the people around here and see what she gets."

Pub Date: 1/16/98

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