WORCESTER — Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said he intends to pursue second-degree murder indictments for each of the suspects charged in connection with the Oct. 10 killing of a Worcester man.
Anais Soto, 15, of Oneonta; Dylan Robinson, 15, of Oneonta; Alexander Borggreen, 16, of Oneonta; Alexis Lottermann, 16, of Walton; and Nicolas Meridy, 32, of Oneonta; were after $5,000 in cash and marijuana when they entered the residence of 53-year-old Kenneth W. Robinson, according to investigators.
Dylan Robinson is Kenneth's son. Muehl said the teenagers were friends from school, and that a few were dating, but the extent of their relationship with Meridy is unknown.
“What they’re doing with this guy, I have no idea,” Muehl said.
Defense counsel assigned to each of the teenagers waived their clients’ right to a felony hearing at Wednesday appearance in Otsego County Court, according to Muehl.
During Meridy’s felony hearing Thursday in Worcester Town Court, Muehl elicited testimony from two New York State Police investigators, including Ronald Lussi, who said he interviewed Meridy for about four and a half hours the day after the incident.
Lussi said Meridy described a “planning session” with the other defendants at his Fairview Street apartment before they drove to Robinson’s Worcester residence. The suspects were each assigned weapons from a cache of long guns, which were reported stolen from a neighbor’s property two days prior to the incident, according to Muehl.
Lussi testified that Meridy claimed that he and Borggreen were granted entry into the residence by Dylan — “D-Money,” as Meridy called him — while Soto, or “Ace,” stood guard and Lottermann waited in the vehicle with another female, identified only as Tatiana, who has not been charged, according to Muehl.
Lussi testified that Meridy told him Kenneth Robinson was in bed with one of his two other children at the time of entry, when “a struggle did ensue, and a round was discharged” — one of three altogether.
Muehl said after the hearing that Meridy claimed he fired his weapon accidentally, and that Kenneth Robinson was killed when his son shot him in the head.
“I think that any round shot off was intentional,” Muehl said, adding there was “no indication” of any accidental firing.
“The fact that this defendant may have not pulled the trigger of the gun that actually killed Mr. Robinson is of no consequence,” Muehl said. “Everybody that’s involved with the burglary of the house or the robbery itself is guilty of felony murder because they were involved with the underlying crime.”
Meridy attributed a gash on his forehead to Dylan inadvertently striking him with the long gun he was holding, Lussi said.
Lussi said Meridy told him he left the residence carrying two guns and waited for Borggreen and Dylan before the group returned to his Oneonta residence.
It is unclear whether any money or marijuana was taken from the residence, or how much, according to Muehl.
Under cross-examination by Andy Puritz, Meridy’s defense attorney, Lussi said he was unaware if Meridy was tested for gunshot residue to determine whether he fired a gun.
Muehl called to the stand Leslie Burton, another state police investigator, who testified that he responded to the Robinson residence when a fire was called in around 9:45 p.m. Oct. 10.
Burton said he arrived to find a male subject, whom he identified as Kenneth Robinson, lying in his underwear at the base of the stairs of the house, dead from two apparent gunshot wounds.
Puritz argued in closing that no testimony was offered to suggest his client entered the residence without permission, as Lussi testified to Meridy’s claim that Dylan let him in the front door.
“He didn’t live there!” someone interjected from the front row of the audience.
“That’s the testimony,” Puritz said. “I’m not saying that it’s necessarily the truth, but that’s the testimony that we heard.”
Judge William Fisher ruled that sufficient evidence was presented to bring the case before a grand jury and referred the matter to Otsego County Court.
Muehl said it could be nine to 12 months before trial proceedings begin, although plea bargains may be involved along the way.
Outside the hearing, Stephanie Robinson, identifying herself as Kenneth’s niece, held a photograph of her deceased uncle.
“These kids didn’t just wake up and decide to rob somebody,” she said, suggesting that the scheme started as a simple joke about where to find marijuana.
Dylan wiped the bullets clean with rubbing alcohol on the way to his father’s residence, Stephanie said, claiming “he knew what he was doing.”
Stephanie described Dylan’s relationship with his father as “very beautiful at first” before he “became out of control.”
Dylan was involved in PINS — persons in need of supervision — proceedings with the county, she said, and his parents had been asking for help for years.
Characterizing her uncle as a loving and protective father, Stephanie said when it came to custody hearings in his divorce from Dylan’s mother, Jamie, “he fought for every single one of (his kids).”
“He was one of the best human beings you could ever ask to meet,” she said.
“It’s not fair,” Kenneth’s girlfriend, Jennifer Ives, chimed in tearfully.
When asked if she had been in contact with her cousin, Stephanie replied: “I’ll never talk to him again as long as I live.”
Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.