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Cops and Courts

Martin Robinson receives 55-year prison sentence for shootout, standoff (VIDEO, UPDATED)

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    Martin Robinson watches as officers and his family leave the courtroom after he received a sentence of 55 years.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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    Amherst police Officer Eugene Ptacek gets a hug from a fellow officer after the sentencing of Martin Robinson in Lorain County Common Pleas Court on Monday. Robinson shot Ptacek during a standoff last May.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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    Amherst Police Officer Eugene Ptacek, center, stands with his family and fellow police officers as Martin Robinson is led from the courtroom to begin serving his sentence.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — Shortly before being sentenced to 55 years in prison for his role in a shootout with police, Martin Robinson told the judge that he had no remorse for the “so-called” victims in the case.

Robinson, 40, of Sheffield Lake, was found guilty of multiple counts of attempted murder and felonious assault from the shootout that occurred May 31 at his home during a standoff in which U.S. Marshals and the Lorain County SWAT team were trying to serve an arrest warrant out of Cuyahoga County.

Testimony in the trial said Robinson fired a 20-gauge shotgun and struck Amherst police officer and SWAT team member Eugene “J.R.” Ptacek, nearly killing him.

“I’d like it to be known that I maintain my innocence, though I was found guilty,” Robinson said during the sentencing. “I’m not going to sit here and say I show any remorse for the so-called victims or victim. If someone came to his house and did what he did, I’m sure he would feel just like I do. It’s human nature.”

Robinson also said his defense attorney had recommended he not speak, but he said he had a lot to say, including that “the justice system has failed me, and I’ve watched it fail others over the years.”

“I’ve lived all my life according to the laws of this fine county, this fine state, of the United States of America,” Robinson said. “I’ve done my best to follow the laws, uphold the laws and now I’m being judged on one sole incident.”

Robinson’s aunt, Sandy Baker, also addressed the court saying that the situation has been unfortunate for everyone involved.

“I feel bad for those who have been injured and all they have went through, but I also think Marty is a victim, not necessarily from what happened that day, but life in general,” Baker said.

She told the packed courtroom of how Robinson had been a good person, bringing flowers to her and his grandmother every Mother’s Day. She also talked about tragedy striking in his life when he lost his grandfather and then a week later his mother had a massive heart attack, which caused her to suffer “severe brain damage.”

“She’s now in a nursing home,” Baker said. “She’s been told (about Robinson’s situation) but doesn’t remember. When you see her, she’ll say, ‘My Marty hasn’t been to see me.’ Fortunately, she’s not aware of why. I’m not looking for sympathy. Please don’t think I’m looking for sympathy.

“I think he’s not a bad person. I think he needed psychological help long ago, in his late 20s, and we as a family missed that.”

Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo asked Cook to give Robinson the maximum sentence of 126 years in prison, calling Robison’s crime “the worst form of the offense.”

Defense attorney Reid Yoder asked for the minimum sentence to be given, stating that Robinson had no prior criminal record and had suffered greatly since the events of July 2009 in which four police officers violently assaulted Robinson while he was working as a corrections officer. Robinson eventually was awarded a $900,000 settlement as a result of the assault.

During the trial, it was suggested that perhaps Robinson was singled out by law enforcement to get revenge due to his being awarded a settlement. It also was suggested officers usurped their authority and overreacted during the standoff, which Cook addressed prior to sentencing.

“There’s been some criticism or at least some questioning of police action,” Cook said. “I think the exact opposite. I think the officers showed tremendous patience in the hours they waited and the efforts they made to see that this ended peacefully. They showed tremendous restraint, even after being shot, and only fired to protect themselves and the fallen officer or the officers who were trapped.”

Cook said the events of May 31 “were avoidable and senseless” and “were orchestrated” by Robinson.

“Your conduct that day changed many peoples’ lives; almost killed a police officer doing nothing but his job,” Cook said. “As prosecutor Cillo stated in his closing argument, how ironic that a law enforcement officer with a decent career, injured by other law enforcement officers, would flip the table and put himself in the same position.”

In addition to the sentence of 55 years in prison, Robinson was ordered to pay more than $44,000 in restitution to the law enforcement agencies for the costs incurred during the standoff and the subsequent investigation.

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


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