In what is arguably the first cyber sex serial killer case in the Crime Archives, 56-year-old John Edward Robinson is believed to have killed at least five women over a 16-year period. The case against the bondage-killer broke when authorities, who had been investigating Robinson for over three months, arrested him for sexually assaulting two women whom he met in sadomasochistic Internet chat rooms. Subsequently authorities unearthed two 55-gallon barrels with two corpses inside from a property he owned. Next police found three more drums with three dead women in a storage locker he rented 30 miles away in Raymore, Missouri.
"I can say one thing: The bodies (in the field) appear to have been in those barrels for some time," said Paul Morrison, the district attorney in Johnson County, Kansas. "The bodies in Raymore have probably been there longer." Allegedly Robinson had rented the locker for at least five years. In Kansas, about 20 investigators -- including some from the FBI -- continued to search Robinson's property. Crews planned to drain a pond on the land. "We may find more bodies, but we certainly hope not," Linn County Sheriff Marvin Stites said.
John Edward Robinson Sr. was remarkable a child growing up near Chicago. There, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and once traveled to England to sing for the queen and make a backstage friendship with Judy Garland.
As an adult, he seemed to live two lives simultaneously - one all upstanding and middle class, another with a history of reported scams. He has posed as a divorce lawyer and movie producer, claiming to be making 'First Blood,' the first of Sylvester Stallone's Rambo movies. After moving to Kansas City in the 1960s, he lived as a family man, scout leader, church elder, Little League referee, and coach. He was also a man convicted for a series of frauds and once forged letters from businessmen to stage a luncheon in his own honor.
It was after he met two women over the Internet through sado-masochistic circles. The still-married Robinson met the women on separate occasions for sexual encounters in hotel rooms. But they complained to police that he played too rough. One of them, a therapist from Texas, also accused him of walking off with hundreds of dollars of her sex toys.
Police arrested him at his home in Olathe, Kan., after the two complaints of sexual assault. That, in turn, gave them an opening to search his farm, and the first two bodies were discovered. By the week's end, they found the three others, and he was charged with five counts of murder.
Most of the victims are believed related to Robinson's financial scams and alleged Internet activities. Online Robinson went by the screen moniker of "Slavemaster" trolling through different sadomasochistic chat rooms searching for victims. Robinson was arrested at mobile home park managed by his wife in Olathe, Kansas. One of the women he assaulted apparently travelled from Texas to have little S&M session with the suspect in a local hotel. Like the other surviving victim, things got rougher than intended and, unlike at least five others, she was able to escape alive. Presently he is being held on $5 million bond on charges of aggravated sexual battery and the felony theft of the woman's bondage gear.
One fo Robinson's victims is believed to be Lisa Stassi and her baby daughter, Tiffany. Lisa and Tiffany -- who was barely five months old -- were in a shelter for battered women when she met Robinson in 1985. Robinson allegedly recruited her for his fraudulent "Outreach" program for young single mothers, pledging to train her in Texas as a silkscreen printer, land her an $800-a-month stipend, set her up with baby-sitting and give her an apartment. On January 8, 1985, she and her baby were at an Overland Park Rodeway Inn, where a "John Osborne" had checked her in. Her room was paid for with a credit card issued to Equi-II, a consulting company set up by Robinson. She checked out two days later, and her family has not heard from her since.
Authorities have now located her daughter, Tiffany, alive and living under the name Heather Robinson with Robinson's older brother in Hammond, Indiana. Robinson arranged the fake adoption of Tiffany -- now a sophomore in a public high school -- soon after she and her mother dissappeared. Unaware that the adoption was not legal or that the girl's mother was presumably killed by Robinson, his brother raised the little girl in a seemingly normal fashion. According to authorities the brother never suspected any foulplay and had been given fake legal documents concerning the adoption.
"That bothers me more than I can tell you," said Pat Sylvester, Lisa Stasi's mother. "To know that he handed her over to his own brother, that he was around her all those years, it's just so awful." The 16-year-old is said to be shaken by the news. That comes from the lawyer representing the couple raising her. The family has not spoken publicly.
Carl Stasi, her biological father, thinks it best that the girl stay a daughter to the brother of the man who may have killed her mother. "I don't want to make this any harder for her than it already is," Stasi said. He last saw his then-wife and daughter around Christmas 1984 before leaving the Kansas City area to reenlist in the Navy. He was 24 at the time. Yet he's frustrated that the couple has stalled for several months any meeting with his daughter. "For now, I'd settle for a phone call or a letter," he said. "I want to tell her I love her."