Archive for January 21st, 2011

A voice that needs to be heard.

Here are some more things people should know about Harvey Robinson, the Allentown serial killer who is fighting to have his remaining death sentence for a rape and murder changed to life in prison, as were two other death sentences.

I attended the hearing last month along with other victims, my family and friends because we want the judge to know we exist and whom the courts should be defending. Our system is spending a tremendous amount of money trying to get this serial killer off of death row. Why? So he can roam around in jail more freely? We want him on death row where the chances of him killing anyone else are reduced.

This last hearing we went through was a debate about Robinson’s mental capabilities. The serial killer had a team of eight, consisting of three lawyers, a psychologist and law clerks. They want him taken off of death row because he has frontal lobe brain damage. They brought in another man — who killed a woman by tying a rock around her stomach and throwing her in the river and also killed a police officer — to testify in Robinson’s behalf. The defense team members were really grasping at straws when they used this guy’s testimony. This other killer has to help Robinson with his legal briefs. It seems as though Robinson gets in trouble on death row and needs help to prepare his briefs because his brain is so damaged. A California psychologist was brought in by the defense to testify on behalf of Robinson’s brain functions. This is all paid for by our good, tax-paying citizens — you and me. I wonder if I can be reimbursed for the money I lost while sitting in this four-day hearing, three days before Christmas.

I can tell those defense lawyers that Robinson does not have any motor control or memory problems. When he sits in the courtroom sneering and snickering at my mother and me, he knows who he is looking at. When he motions to me that he is going to get me, he knows what he is talking about. When I motion back to him that he will soon die and he tries to jump out of his wheelchair, there is no evidence of motor damage. When he attacked me 18 years ago, he was fast, agile and strong, with no motor damage back then either. No memory problems when he returned to our home seven times before he had a shootout with an Allentown policeman in our home. He shows lots of calculation when he tries to blame the strangulation, near-death beating and my sliced face on my husband! The fact that this appeal was allowed to happen is shocking. We do not need doctors to testify that Harvey Robinson does not have memory and motor-control problems, not so long as I am alive.

Some more interesting facts: On death row, according to the Office of the Victim Advocate, prisoners can have food, beverages, toiletries, over-the-counter medicine (he gets a sleeping pill, a pain reliever and an anti-depressant every day), clothing, art and art supplies, office supplies (pens, pencils, scissors, paper and envelopes), laundry soap, television, radio, fans, typewriters, cassette players and headphones.

Death row prisoners may get out of their cells to work on the unit, access law offices and make phone calls. They are allowed to exercise in a fenced-in area large enough to hold two inmates. They can have one visitor per week for at least an hour or more if the staff approves. They can make three 15-minute phone calls per week. They can mail up to 10 one-ounce letters per month at no cost and as much as they want if they pay the expenses. They can talk to other inmates on the unit so long as they are not too loud. Isn’t that nice?

No wonder Robinson shows no wear and tear after all of these years on death row. He came to court with a haircut and no gray hair. One more thing I learned during this hearing is that Harvey Robinson is narcissistic and diagnosed with an anti-social personality. He is self-consumed and a hypochondriac. He certainly would hate to have anyone damage his body and especially his face. He lacks remorse and only cares about himself. Well we already knew this. What other kind of human being can kill so savagely?

Perhaps if we did not waste all of this money on proving the already proven, we could concentrate on educating our youth. I wonder how long America can waste its resources and remain competitive in the world? Let’s eliminate these nonsense appeals. Maybe we need to limit the amount of attorneys, ensuring enough real work and money for them so they do not have to look for money trying to get serial killers off of death row. I hope Morning Call columnist Paul Carpenter is right, and our good citizens behind bars have the good common sense to do with Robinson what our legal system is too weak to do.

Denise Sam Cali lives in Allen Township.


I applaud this woman for speaking out. Her strength and openness are admirable.

I hope that the people that can make the discussion listen and that they do not commute this sad accuse for a human‘s sentence.

He raped and killed three women. He was linked to the murders by DNA evidence and convicted in November 1994. He was sentenced to death in all three cases. The murdered victims were:

  • Joan Burghardt, a 29-year-old nurse’s aide (August 1992)
  • Charlotte Schmoyer, a 15-year-old newspaper carrier (June 1993)
  • Jessica Jean Fortney, a 47-year-old grandmother (July 1993)

He raped and brutalized a fourth victim, Denise Sam-Cali, but she escaped. Robinson returned to her home several nights later and attempted to break in. A police officer was posted at the home, and when Robinson attempted to break in again, the police officer shot him. Robinson was tracked to a local hospital, and was arrested.

Harvey also had a fifth victim, who was only 5 years old when Harvey broke into her house. He intended to rape (and possibly kill) the child’s mother, but changed his mind when he saw her in bed with a boyfriend. Instead, Harvey crept into a room shared by the 5 year old and her younger sister. There, he raped the 5 year old, choked her, and left her for dead. It is believed that Harvey had stalked the mother for several days beforehand, as he did his other victims.

Harvey was suspected of attempting to kill yet another girl, Leslie Gerhart, in 1990. She was 13 and had a friend staying over for the evening when an intruder removed the screen from the bedroom window and began beating her with a brick.

From Wikipedia link.

Crime Library article.

Why is Robinson still alive?

What reason is there for him to exist?

Why is he allowed to still torment his victims?

Why is anyone even considering allowing him to continue to live?

What could he possibly contribute to society?

We need to stop allowing this type of ‘person’ to hurt others.

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