An 11-year-old girl testified Thursday that Arch "Keith" Robinson molested and sexually assaulted her at a Carthage residence.
The girl's testimony at a preliminary hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court and that of Carthage police Detective Adam Blankenship were sufficient to convince Judge Joe Hensley that Robinson, 60, should stand trial on charges of first-degree statutory sodomy and second-degree child molestation. The judge set the defendant's initial appearance in a trial division of the court for Oct. 13.
The girl told the court that she and a sibling were camped inside a play fort in the living room of the home watching a video late at night when he lay down with them and began touching her inappropriately.
She said she used her cellphone to send text messages to her mother and other family members asking them to come get her.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Teresa Grantham, she was unsure of the size of the fort, on which side of her Robinson positioned himself or on which side her sibling was positioned, and whether there was a light on in the room or not. But she said both she and the sibling were awake and watching a video at the time.
Blankenship testified that he attended an interview of the girl at the Children's Center and obtained a search warrant for Robinson's residence to photograph the scene and obtain what physical evidence there might be there. He acknowledged that the play fort had been disassembled, but an occupant of the residence verified that there had been one set up in the room and told him what had been used to build it.
The detective said he later interviewed Robinson about the girl's interview.
"Did he admit to abusing (her)?" Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Fisher asked him.
"No, he did not," Blankenship said.
While Robinson acknowledged the girl's account of a fort having been built for the children in the living room, he claimed he was asleep at the time she said he abused her, Blankenship told the court.