‘Shopping cart killer’ suspect indicted in 2 deaths; new charge added

A grand jury has indicted “shopping cart killer” suspect Anthony Eugene Robinson on five felony counts, including a new charge in connection with the 2021 deaths of two women in the Harrisonburg, Virginia, area.

On Monday, Robinson appeared by video from jail after the Rockingham County grand jury indicted him on five counts. These include two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of hiding the bodies of 54-year-old Beth Redmon of Harrisonburg, and 39-year-old Tonita Smith of Charlottesville.

The new count, aggravated murder of more than one person within three years, is a Class 1 felony — the most serious under Virginia law.

Last week, a District Court judge found probable cause to send this case to the grand jury. Prosecutors showed the judge videos of Robinson dragging a shopping cart out of a Howard Johnson motel room, with body-sized items wrapped in sheets.

Prior to Virginia abolishing the death penalty in 2021, aggravated murder was considered a “death penalty-eligible” offense, in which a conviction could result in execution.

While the death penalty is no longer an option, conviction on a Class 1 felony could mean a life sentence that would preclude Robinson from ever being eligible for release based upon “good time” credit, or for geriatric release.

Defense attorney Louis Nagy asked for, and was granted, a delay in proceedings until Oct. 31, at which point a trial date will likely be set.

Nagy told the judge he wanted time to research and consider options for the defendant, rather than immediately setting a trial date.

Robinson is also suspected, but has not yet been charged, in the deaths of two women in Fairfax County, Virginia, and one woman in D.C.

Last December, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis dubbed Robinson the “shopping cart killer” in a news conference, after two sets of human remains were discovered in Alexandria.

The remains of 29-year-old Cheyenne Brown of D.C. and 48-year-old Stephanie Harrison of Redding, California, were both found in a large plastic container near a shopping cart in the wooded area near a motel called the Moon Inn by U.S. Route 1 in the Huntington area of Alexandria.

Robinson is also suspected in the death of 40-year-old Sonya Champ of D.C., whose body was also found in a shopping cart in Northeast D.C. in September 2021.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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