High Court Upholds Death Sentence for Jonesboro Killer

FEBRUARY 26, 2004 - Posted at 10:56 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Supreme Court today upheld the death sentence of a man who first said he wanted to die, but changed his mind and challenged his conviction.

Robert Robbins was first convicted and sentenced to execution for the slaying in Jonesboro of his former girlfriend Bethany White.  The court turned away arguments that the jury returned inconsistent forms regarding mitigating circumstances.  The majority of the high court ruled that jurors were polled in open court after their verdict was read and clearly indicated that they intended for Robbins to be executed.

Robbins admitted killing White and represented himself during court proceedings, seeking the death penalty for himself.  His mother intervened and sought a review by the Arkansas Supreme Court, prompting the high court to change its methods and require automatic reviews of all death cases.

White was 18 when she was killed November 4, 1997.  Robbins admitted choking White and breaking her neck.  He said he also covered her mouth and nose with duct tape.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)