Anna LEE ( -1926)


Robert Robinson Held for Grand Jury on Murder Charge

When R. Dalzell Sturgeon, an eye witness to the killing last Saturday of Mrs. Anna Lee, a negress, testified that he saw Robert Robinson, negro, shoot the woman twice as she ran out of a house, a coroner’s jury yesterday recommended that Robinson be held on a charge of murder to await the action of the June grand jury.

Mr. Sturgeon said he was sitting in a car parked in Asken street when he heard a shot. As he turned to determine the cause, he said, he saw Mrs. Lee run out of a nearby house with Robinson pursuing her. When only two of three feet behind her, the witness said, Robinson fired at her and again as she was going out the gate. Mrs. Lee ran “47 steps’ and fell flat on her face on the sidewalk. She died almost instantly. Lee, Mr. Sturgeon said, sat on a porch swing and remained there until the officers arrived. The negro snapped the revolver several times after he had fired the three shots, the witness said. Coroner S. A. Baltz, who had charge of the hearing, told the jury that Mrs. Lee had been shot three times, but the wound in her abdomen had been mortal. Robinson was held for the grand jury on a charge of murder when arraigned before Alderman John Darby yesterday afternoon.

The Morning Herald, Uniontown, PA, Tuesday, May 18, 1926, page 1, column 3

Seeks Verdict of Murder in First Degree
State Asks for Maximum Penalty in Robinson Case


Murder in the first degree is the verdict asked by the Commonwealth against Robert Robinson, negro, charged with the slaying of Anna Lee, May 15 last, as she fled from her home in Asken street with the bullets from Robinson’s gun piercing her body as she ran. Demand for the highest penalty the law can inflict came with the opening of the Commonwealth’s side of the case yesterday. It followed an outline of the history of the case by Assistant District Attorney, Wade, K. Newell and his application of the law in accordance to those facts.

The district attorney declared the state will attempt to prove that the woman was shot down in cold blood while she was trying to escape the wrath of her assailant whom she had attempted to oust from her home. Failing to rid herself of his presence, she had started on the way to get officers when he drew his gun and shot. Coroner S. A. Baltz, the first witness for the commonwealth, described the course of the three bullet wounds which penetrated the body. One wa particularly described as having caused death through hemorrhage. This bullet entered the right side of the back and, after passing through the liver, embedded itself in the muscles next to the abdomen. Another bullet passed through the left side of the cheek, spreading powder marks on the face, and a third bullet entered the left shoulder and emerged through the left arm.

Dr. Baltz also told of numerous bruises of the right knee and of both legs from the ankle to the hips. He described the victim as a “very light complected woman” well nourished and weighing abut 140 pounds. At the conclusion of his examination the court recessed for the day.

Article continues with other cases.

The Morning Herald, Uniontown, PA, Wednesday, June 23, 1926, page 1, column 3


State Exhibits Victim’s Clothes At Murder Trial
Many Witnesses Testify in Robert Robinson Case


Sensational utterances made by Robert Robinson, negro, to the officers who arrested him after he had poured a deadly revolver fire into the body of Anna Lee at her home in Asken street last May 15, were repeated for the jury yesterday afternoon as the Commonwealth produced its leading witnesses against the defendant in an effort to get his conviction of murder on the extreme count.

“I’m not sorry for her. I’m sorry for her mother. I killed her because I wanted to. I don’t want life imprisonment. I want the electric chair.”

This is the statement Robinson is said to have made to County Detective A. W. Bell and Patrolman Joe McFadden in the front parlor of the Lee home as he was being examined by them just a few minutes after the shooting occurred. Robinson, after firing the three shots, all of which took effect, calmly waited for the arrival of the police. “When does my case come up?” Robinson asked McFadden.

“It won’t be long; sometime in June” Replied the officer.

“Thank God for that” said Robinson, according to the policemen. In response to further questioning by the county detective, Robinson said he has neither drank nor used dope. Clarence Green, another witness and a next door neighbor to the Lee woman, testified earlier in the day that even while the body of the slain woman was still laying on the sidewalk 100 feet away from the house where she had fallen, the defendant had remarked,

“That’s the last man in this world she will ever ----up.”

The Commonwealth produced as exhibits in the case some of the clothes of the dead woman which had been cut and slashed by Robinson in a quarrel which had preceded the shooting. A coat and a dress, each had been cut to ribbons by the defendant, it was charged by the Commonwealth. Clarence Green was the central witness of the morning testimony before Judge S. John Morrow, Wednesday, during Robinson’s trial on a charge of murder. Green said that he got up that morning and breakfasted, after which he washed his face and hands and made ready to go down town. On second consideration, the witness testified, he decided to stay at home and give some orders to his housekeeper about cleaning up the house. Earlier in the morning Clarence declared he had noticed Mrs. Lee, Robinson and a man who has the nickname of “Fewsocks” in the Lee home. Sometime between 11:30 and 12 he heard a shot, Green said. Looking through his front window, he testified, he saw the woman emerge from the door. Robinson holding both hands to the gun fired a second shot as she turned around while jumping off the front porch and he lat go a third bullet as she passed through the gate.

“Don’t, don’t,” and “Oh, My God,” were the only words the victim uttered at the time, according to Green.

Article continues with other cases.

The Morning Herald, Uniontown, PA, Thursday, June 24, 1926, page 1, column 1-7,
continued to page 3, column 3


Claim Defendant Admitted Killing Anna Lee as Charged


With a number of damaging remarks which the defendant made against himself shortly after he shooting as the outstanding features, the Commonwealth closed its case yesterday afternoon against Robert Robinson, negro, charged with the slaying of Anna Lee, May 15 last, of Asken street.

The Commonwealth concluded by presenting to the jury a statement made by Robinson to County Detective A. W. Bell in the presence of Chief of Police David McDonald, Patrolman Paul Whyel and Constable S. T. Grey. In the statement, Robinson admitted that he went to Dice’s store and bought a gun on the morning of the crime for the sole purpose of killing the woman. Remarks which Robinson made while he was going through the …….. system of identification in the county detective’s office were also presented to the jury y Mr. Bell.

“I thought I weighed more than I did,” remarked Robinson as he stepped off the scales. “I lost a couple of pounds in the last hour,” he added.

Brought face to face with the mugging machine, Robinson declared, “I expect this is the last time I’ll ever have my picture taken. When a man commits a deliberate murder he is through.”

Under cross examination the county detective was questioned closely on the subject of why he had not been fair with the prisoner in his custody by informing him anything he said would be used against him at the trial. Mr. Bell stated that District Attorney E. D. Brown had entered the room where Robinson had been taken a short time after his arrest and had told Robinson three different times that what he said would be used against him at the trial. Bell denied he had said to Robinson that if he “talked” to him (Bell) it would be easier for him (Robinson) at the trial. “I made no promises to the prisoner at any time,” said the county detective.

Robinson’s confession was identified by Miss Louise Shutterly, stenographer in the office of District Attorney E. D. Brown, who stated that she had taken down a true and correct copy of the questions and replies as made and answered between the county detective and Robinson. The statement follows:

Robert, before we take your statement, you understand that what you tell us at this time will be used against you in the trial of your case, and the District Attorney has told you that also a few minutes ago. Yes, sir, I understand thoroughly.
   Q. What is your full name?
   A. Robert Robinson.
   Q. Where do you live?
   A. 46 Askin street.
   Q. How long have you lived at that place?
   A. Since the last of May, a year ago.
   Q. Is that in the city of Uniontown?
   A. No, sir. That is in North Union Township.
   Q. Who lived with you at that place?
   A. Anna Lee, the girl that I killed.
   Q. Did anyone else live there?
   A. Her mother came there about every two weeks with her two boys.
   Q. Did anyone live there except you and Anna?
   A. No one but myself and Anna.
   Q. What was the trouble that you had out there this morning?
   A. Trouble about me moving my trunk, this morning.
   Q. What were you going to do, move away?
   A. Sure.
   Q. What time did the trouble first start?
   A. Well, I came home last night. I had been to Vestaburg to a ball game. When I came in,
      I locked the door and took the key out. In the meantime, I forgot and hooked the screen
     door. This morning, I heard someone knocking abut 6:30. I went out and let Anna
     Lee in. She came and I dressed and came to town.
   Q. What time was that when you dressed and came to town?
   A. About 8:30, when I started into town. About 9:30 I went back out home.
     Then the fuss started. I was packing my trunk.
   Q. What was the fuss about?
   A. About me packing my trunk.
   Q. Then you say you left again and came back to town?
   A. I came to town and bought the gun.
   Q. Where did you buy the gun?
   A. At Dice’s from some lady.
   Q. What did you buy the gun for?
   A. For just what I did.
   Q. You mean you came to town again to buy the gun and to go out there and kill Anna?
   A. Yes.
   Q. And the reason for that was because she was fussing with you about moving?
   A. Yes.
   Q. Did you buy anything else?
   A. A box of shells
   Q. How much did you pay for it all?
   A. $17.25 all told.
   Q. Where did you unwrap the gun when you left the store?
   A. The upper end of the Radiator plant.
   Q. Was the gun in a box when you purchased it?
   A. Yes, in a paste-board box.
   Q. Where did you load the gun?
   A. The upper end of the Radiator plant.
   Q. Do you know where you threw the box and paper?
   A. In the creek.
   Q. What did you do with the box that contained the shells?
   A. Threw it in the creek.
   Q. Then after you loaded the gun at the Radiator plant, where did you go?
   A. Home.
   Q. And whom did you see?
   A. I saw Anna Lee. I knocked at the back door, both doors were locked. I had been
     to the front door first. She asked me, “Who the Hell was there” and I told
     her, “It is me, open the door.” She opened the door and she threw a fruit
     jar, then she started to run toward the front door.
   Q. Was she fully dressed at that time?
   A. Yes, she was dressed just the way she was when you found her out there in the street. Had on her hat.
   Q. When she started to run, what did you do?
   A. I started to shoot.
   Q. Did you fire any shots in the house?
   A. Yes, I fired all of the shots in the house.
   Q. Now, then, where were you standing when you fired the first shot?
   A. In the dining room.
   Q. Where was Anna Lee at that time?
   A. She was middle way between the dining room door and the kitchen door.
   Q. Was she going toward the front room and away from you when you fired the first shot?
   A. Yes, sir.
   Q. The first time you fired, do you remember whether you hit her or not?
   A. No, sir.
   Q. Then when did you fire the next shot?
   A. About middle of the front room, I fired the two shots in succession, and then at
     that time she had the screen door open and she was running off the porch.
   Q. Then did you fire any shots outside at all?
   A. No, sir.
   Q. Did you attempt to fire any?
   A. I clicked the gun once more and it did not shoot.
   Q. Where were you when you clicked the gun?
   A. Standing in the door. When she was running up the street. Then she fell.
   Q. Did you go up to her when she fell?
   A. No, I walked from the screen door and sat down on the porch swing. I stayed right there.
   Q. Is this the gun that you did the shooting with?
   A. Yes.
   Q. Did you know that Anna Lee had called the police about you having trouble with her this morning?
   A. She didn’t have any reason to.
   Q. She had had you locked up before?
   A. Yes, for her own fault.
   Q. You were not married to her?
   A. No.
   Q. And she is a married woman?
   A. Yes, her husband came there several times on Sundays for meals, and other undesirable people.
   Q. How long did I understand you to say you had been living with this woman?
   A. A year this past March.
   Q. Did you sleep in the same room with her?
   A. No, I had a separate room.
   Q. And you didn’t know anything about the police this morning?
   A. I didn’t know anything.
   Q. And the only reason that you shot her was because she was fussing with you about moving your trunk?
   A. Yes, and threatened what she would do.
   Q. Do you know anything about the clothes that she had in the satchel, that were torn?
   A. No, I do not know anything about them.
   Q. Was it a fact that she was leaving when you returned home?
   A. If she was, I didn’t know anything about it.
   Q. When you returned from the hardware store, after buying the gun, and went into
     the house, the only thing she had in her hand was a fruit jar?
   A. I just saw it thrown at me.
   Q. Was that the only thing you saw her have?
   A. Yes.
   Q. Did the fruit jar break?
   A. I didn’t notice. I just opened the screen door and she threw the fruit jar.
   Q. Then when you fired the three shots at Anna, she was going away from you?
   A. Going away from me.
   Q. And shortly after you fired the gun the last time she was going out in the street?
   A. Yes, sir. About 25 yards.

      PAUL WHYEL (Seal)
      S. T. GRAY (Seal)
      D. F. McDONALD (Seal)
      A. W. BELL, Jr. (Seal)
     Sworn to and subscribed before me this 15th day of May, 1926.
        JOHN W. DARBY (Seal)

The Morning Herald, Uniontown, PA, Friday, June 25, 1926, page 1, column 1,
continued to page 9, column 2


Take Four Ballots; Prisoner Cool But Sighs Relief

Judge Morrow Expresses Appreciation Before Discharge

As a result of a verdict returned by a jury at 10:46 last night, Robert Robinson, 30-year-old negro slayer of his sweetheart, Anna Lee, will spend the remainder of his life behind prison bars. Robinson was found guilty of first degree murder after four ballots had been taken. Under the terms of the state’s latest homicide code, the jury fixed the punishment as life imprisonment, saving him from the electric chair. The prisoner’s uplifted arm never flinched as Alexander Romesburg, foreman of the jury, announced the finding of the highest grade of murder, but the accompanying statement moved Robinson to an audible sigh of relief. Not until 6:46 did Judge S. John Morrow finish his charge which directed the possibility of the jury to four verdicts; first degree, second degree, manslaughter or acquittal. The case climaxed during the afternoon with two ringing pleas, one by Assistant District Attorney Wade K. Newell for an electric chair verdict and the other by Attorney Charles L. Davidson who asked for mercy in view of the circumstances.

On the first ballot the jury voted as to the degree, nine favoring first degree and three second degree. The second ballot produced an unanimous verdict for first degree. Then the question of the sentence came up and the vote was again split nine to three with nine favoring life imprisonment and three for the electric chair. The forth ballot brought an unanimous decision.

In discharging the jury, Judge Morrow warmly thanked the members for their close attention to duty and for the faithful services. In replay Foreman Romesburg expressed the appreciation of the jury for the courteous treatment accorded them by the court, consideration shown by the upstaves and the painstaking manner in which counsel on each side had presented the facts in the case. The verdict was read by Deputy Clerk of Courts Samuel P. Flenniken. As he left the courtroom, Robinson turned to his counsel and expressed his satisfaction, declaring he believed he had received a square deal at the hands of all concerned. He was taken back in his cell pending his removal to the Western Penitentiary.

The Morning Herald, Uniontown, PA, Saturday, June 26, 1926, page 1, column 7,
continued to page 9, column 4

Contributed by Marilyn Tolentino < SFFoster at>