Jury selection underway in Robbins murder trial
MAYVILLE — At least five jurors have been seated in the second-degree murder trial of Keith L. Robbins.
Selection began Tuesday in Chautauqua County Court in Mayville. Robbins, who is being represented by Chautauqua County Public Defender Ned Barone, is accused of shooting and killing his estranged wife, 36-year-old Shari Robbins, on Nov. 10, 2016, on Prospect Street in Jamestown.
Robbins, 36, was taken into custody five days later in the city following a countywide manhunt.
The trial, which will be heard in front of County Court Judge David Foley, had been set to begin in June. However, the date was pushed back after Barone notified the court he could possibly introduce mental health evidence at trial.
Barone argued at a hearing in May that potentially providing mental health evidence is well within Robbins’ constitutional rights. The public defender also cited his office’s heavy caseload and limited staff when responding to criticism by District Attorney Patrick Swanson that the notice was beyond the 30 days stipulated by state law following an arraignment.
Swanson argued the notice would delay proceedings and also noted that it would be tough for an expert to get a “quality evaluation” of Robbins six months after the shooting.
After hearing arguments from Barone and Swanson, Foley allowed the notice to be entered.
Robbins was arraigned on charges of second-degree murder and injuring a police animal. During the six-hour standoff on Todd Avenue in Jamestown, Robbins allegedly stabbed a K-9 named Mitchell with the Jamestown Police Department. Mitchell later recovered and returned to service with the department.