Convicted last month of felony murder and sodomy in connection to the death of his 8-year-old daughter, Hiawatha Robinson Jr. was sentenced to 100 years in an Alabama prison Wednesday morning.Presiding Judge Charles Graddick handed down the hefty sentence, suggesting it might send a message to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles should they consider releasing Robinson in the future.
The 2014 disappearance and death of Robinson’s daughter, 8-year-old Hiawayi Robinson, sent a shockwave through Prichard that reverberated throughout the state.
From the onset of the investigation, there was speculation Robinson could somehow be involved — rumors fueled by revelations that he’d become the target of early search warrants executed by the FBI.
The sentence brings a resolution to the tragic, two-year saga that culminated in a three-week murder trial last month.
Despite the lack of forensic and DNA evidence linking Robinson to the crime scene, a Mobile County jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict after reviewing the mountain of circumstantial evidence state prosecutors had compiled.However, the case may not end there. Following Robinson’s conviction, attorney Jeff Deen told reporters an appeal would be forthcoming after his client has been sentenced. Attempts to reach Deen to confirm that plan this morning have so far proved unsuccessful.
No matter Robinson’s fate, one lasting effect of the case will be a change in state law that it prompted. Sponsored by State Sen. Vivian Figures (D-Mobile), the Hiawayi Robinson Statewide Emergency Missing and Exploited Children Alert System Act was passed in early 2015.The law required the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to implement an alert system specific to Alabama that is already in effect.
Unlike the nationwide Amber Alert system, “Hiawayi’s law” requires participation from all local law enforcement agencies and doesn’t require the identification of a potential suspect or vehicle before an alert is sent out.