‘Shopping cart killer’ suspect’s first trial delayed, awaiting sanity evaluation

A shopping cart was found near the bodies of two women in Fairfax County. (Courtesy Fairfax County Police Department )
The first trial for “shopping cart killer” suspect Anthony Eugene Robinson, which was scheduled to begin this August in Harrisonburg, Virginia, will be delayed, as his attorney has yet to receive a mental health evaluation to determine whether Robinson was insane when he allegedly killed two women  in 2021.

Defense attorney Louis Nagy is considering an insanity defense in the deaths of 54-year-old Beth Redmon, of Harrisonburg, and 39-year-old Tonita Smith, of Charlottesville. In September of last year, Robinson was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder in their deaths, and two counts for hiding their bodies.

He was later indicted on charges of aggravated murder of more than one person within three years — a class one felony, the most serious under Virginia law.

Nagy sought the delay last week, saying he is running out of time to receive and consider the findings of the sanity evaluation in light of a Virginia requirement that he must notify prosecutors two months before trial about whether he plans to argue Robinson was not guilty by reason of insanity — Virginia’s version of an insanity defense.

On Monday, a Rockingham Circuit Court judge granted Nagy’s motion, postponing Robinson’s Aug. 28 weeklong trial related to Redmon’s death. The new date has yet to be determined.

As a result, Robinson’s first trial will be for Smith’s death, starting Sept. 25.

Robinson is accused of meeting the women at hotels, killing them and then transporting their bodies in a shopping cart before dumping their remains in vacant lots.

On Sept. 12, 2022, during a preliminary hearing in Harrisonburg District Court, a judge watched video evidence showing Redmon and Smith walking into Room 336 of the Howard Johnson motel in Harrisonburg with Robinson, then Robinson later leaving the room before dawn and retrieving a shopping cart.

Soon after, video also showed him dragging the cart out of the room, with body-sized items wrapped in sheets.

Nagy also filed a motion to add a second attorney to the defense team. A new law signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, which takes effect July 1, requires a second attorney be appointed in Class One felony cases.

Robinson is also suspected, but not charged, in the deaths of two women — Cheyenne Brown and Stephanie Harrison — in Fairfax County, and another woman, Sonya Champ, in D.C.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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