Roosevelt Robinson waives right to preliminary trial in cousin’s death

The man accused of killing his cousin waived his right to a preliminary trial Tuesday, and the case was continued to a November court date.

Upon entering court, a shackled Roosevelt Robinson nodded to a man seated in the front row– Ronald Carswell Jr., his second cousin, and the nephew of the woman he is charged with fatally shooting.

Robinson, 67, is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly shooting Loretta Carswell, 63. According to police, Robinson barricaded himself inside a home after allegedly shooting his cousin in the head and was engaged in a stand-off with police lasting more than 31 hours.

When asked routine questions by the judge about his decision to waive a preliminary hearing, Robinson chuckled– a notion his second-cousin interpreted as a sign he isn’t taking the case seriously.

“I’m here to support my aunt, since she can’t be here. I am not here to support him,” Ronald Carswell Jr. said following Tuesday’s court proceedings. “I think he’s taking this as a joke…I forgave him for what he has done, but he has to answer to his God.”

According to Carswell and police charging documents, the fatal shooting of Loretta Carswell on August 21 stemmed from a family dispute–Loretta Carswell wanted Robinson out of the home she owned, and that had been in her family for years. Robinson claimed Carswell stole a $10,000 diamond ring from him that was intended for his daughter.

Ronald Carswell Jr. said he and his siblings and father were raised in the home that became the backdrop of the family tragedy. A memorial still stands on the front porch where his aunt was fatally shot– while his family now wonders how to celebrate Christmas, a tradition typically celebrated at his aunt’s house with presents for everyone and plenty of holiday food.

“We’re trying to figure out what to do. We had Christmas at her house for years…that’s gone now,” Carswell said. “You don’t do that to family. That’s the worst part– our family member did it.”

Carswell said he has forgiven Robinson so he can deal with the grief of losing his aunt while not remaining angry– though he still wants the criminal process to continue and Robinson to be held responsible for his alleged actions.. He also argued his aunt’s innocence– adding that she was financially secure and would never steal a ring.

Carswell described his aunt as a strong, stern and loving woman who wouldn’t put up with excuses or bad behaviors from family– but did it out of love.

“There’s not one person she wouldn’t help,” he said.

Carswell was on a retreat with work when he received the phone call that his aunt had been shot. Media reported on Loretta Carswell’s death and the barricade, and also noted that her death brought the homicide death toll to 99.

“I don’t want her to be remembered as number 99,” he said. “I want her to be remembered for the person she was.”
Robinson’s court date was continued to November 19.

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