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Cops and Courts

Police officer testifies Martin Robinson called White House, NRA, FBI after standoff

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    Defendant Martin Robinson sits at his trial at Lorain County Justice Center on Monday.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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    Martin Robinson enters court for his trial at Lorain County Justice Center March 4.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — After allegedly being involved in a shootout with the Lorain County SWAT team and striking one officer, Martin Robinson made several phone calls including to the White House, the National Rifle Association, the FBI and a civil rights group, according to testimony.

Monday marked the seventh day of the trial of Robinson, 40, of Sheffield Lake, who is charged with attempted murder in connection with the shooting of Amherst police Officer and Lorain County SWAT team member Eugene “J.R.” Ptacek during the standoff May 31. U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force and Lorain County SWAT were trying to arrest Robinson on a warrant out of Cuyahoga County, but Robinson barricaded himself inside his home, testimony has said.

Elyria police Detective Rob Whiting, who served as lead detective in the investigation of the incident, took the stand Monday and testified that phone records showed Robinson made several calls in the hours following the shooting. Whiting said Robinson made multiple calls to different posts of the Ohio Highway Patrol, multiple calls to the FBI’s Cincinnati office, five calls to the White House, multiple calls to the NRA, multiple attorneys, psychologists, a civil rights group along with others.

Robinson’s phone records also showed “around 50” calls from U.S. Marshal’s Deputy David Siler, who previously testified he repeatedly tried calling Robinson in an attempt to peacefully serve the arrest warrant and take Robinson into custody. There also were calls to and from Maiya McCoy, who prosecutors have said was Robinson’s girlfriend, and Mariah McCoy, Maiya McCoy’s sister.

Whiting said that he had heard reports that Robinson had said he was unaware there was a warrant for his arrest out of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court for failure to appear. However, Whiting said there were text messages between Robinson and Maiya McCoy in which the latter said a warrant for Robinson had been issued.

Maiya McCoy told Robinson that her mother knew the judge for the Cuyahoga County case and offered to help him, but Robinson refused to accept the help, Whiting said cell phone records show. He also responded “IDC” when Maiya McCoy texted him that there was a warrant out for his arrest, which Whiting said meant “I don’t care.”

Over the course of the trial, which is entering its third week, several witnesses have testified to seeing Ptacek try to breach the front door of Robinson’s home with a battering ram, and when he succeeded, a loud sound could be heard coming from the house. Testimony has said the loud sound was a shot from a 20-gauge shotgun fired by Robinson that struck Ptacek.

Prosecutors rested their case Monday afternoon, and the defense began calling witnesses of its own.

During testimony for the state, several law enforcement officers recounted SWAT team members risking their lives to pull Ptacek to safety behind a mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle that was parked in the front yard of Robinson’s home. Ptacek was loaded into the MRAP and then was driven in reverse to an ambulance more than a block away for further medical treatment, testimony has said.

In addition to law enforcement officers, neighbors of Robinson also testified to seeing the shooting take place and seeing the MRAP parked in the yard.

On Monday, Jennifer Ginley, who said she lives four houses down from Robinson’s home, told a different story.

Ginley said she walked down about 25 yards away from Robinson’s home and saw men in camouflage uniforms moving around the residence with rifles drawn. Ginley said she witnessed an officer take a battering ram to the front door, strike it multiple times and then kick the door in disgust when it wouldn’t opening before retreating.

Moments later, Ginley said, the officers began to open fire on the home, firing “at least 30 rounds” into it. Afterward, she said she could hear about four or five shots come from inside the home.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo asked Ginley how she was able to see all of the action she described with an MRAP, a large military vehicle, parked in front of the house. Ginley said the MRAP wasn’t in front of the home until after the shooting occurred.

When Cillo showed her photos of officers trying to breach the door that were taken from inside the MRAP parked on the front lawn, Ginley repeatedly said the MRAP was not there during the shooting. She also was shown photos that were taken during the shootout from the MRAP, but she still was adamant the MRAP was not there.

Cillo showed a police report that stated Ginley has had issues with not taking prescribed medication, which has made her delusional. Ginley said the police “can write whatever they want” in reports and said she had been suicidal during the reported incident, not delusional.

Ginley was removed from the scene and charged with misconduct at an emergency — failure to obey an order of law enforcement officer risk of harm, according to testimony and court records. She pleaded no contest to the charge according to Lorain Municipal Court records.

Testimony for the defense is scheduled to resume this morning.

Contact Scott Mahoney at (440) 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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