'Slavemaster' Suspected in 5 Deaths

Wednesday, June 7th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A man who solicited sadomasochistic sex over the Internet using the name ``slavemaster'' is considered the prime suspect in the deaths of five women whose bodies were found stuffed in barrels in Kansas and Missouri, authorities said.

Investigators also are looking into a disappearance dating back to 1985.

Last week's arrest of John Edward Robinson Sr., 56, led police to two bodies Saturday on his property in La Cygne, Kan. Three more bodies in 55-gallon drums were discovered Monday at a storage locker rented by Robinson about 30 miles away, in Raymore.

Autopsies showed the victims died of blunt trauma to the head, authorities said.

Investigators resumed draining a pond on Robinson's property today. A pickup was found in the pond early in the investigation, Linn County Sheriff Marvin Stites said, but investigators don't believe it was connected to a victim.

Johnson County, Kan., District Attorney Paul Morrison said he did not think any more bodies would be found.

However, Morrison confirmed that investigators also are looking at the possibility Robinson was involved in the 1985 disappearance of Lisa Stasi and her 5-month-old daughter, Tiffany.

Stasi was last seen at a motel in Olathe, Kan., where Robinson had arranged for them to stay, prosecutors said in a 1986 court motion. The missing persons report in the case was ordered sealed on Tuesday, police said.

According to a sentencing memorandum in a 1986 theft case, Robinson approached workers at a hospital, saying he was helping set up a charity for unwed mothers. The workers introduced Robinson to Stasi, the document said. It did not identify the hospital.

After the woman and her baby disappeared, Robinson told authorities that she indicated she was moving to Denver, but authorities found no trace of her there.

Robinson was not immediately charged in the five women's deaths. He was being held in lieu of $5 million bail after being charged Monday with sexual assault on two women at hotels.

The two women told authorities they objected to him photographing them and said he brutalized them in a way that went beyond what they intended. One of the women had traveled from Texas to have a sexual encounter with Robinson in April.

At least some of the five victims are believed to be related to Robinson's alleged Internet relationships with women interested in sadomasochism. He was known to use the screen name ``slavemaster'' in his computer correspondence and sometimes called himself James Turner in person, Morrison said.

The prosecutor said he expected to file murder charges by week's end.

Robinson had not retained a lawyer as of Tuesday and was being represented by the Johnson County public defender's office, Morrison said.

During a news conference in Harrisonville with Cass County Prosecutor Chris Koster, Morrison said the case began three months ago as a missing persons investigation. It gained momentum after the two women came forward.

``We had been working on this case for several weeks when those victims came forward,'' Morrison said ``It helped us out a lot. Kind of manna from heaven.''

Robinson was arrested Friday at his home at a mobile home park in Olathe, Kan., managed by his wife. Morrison said dozens of photographs of women and computer equipment were confiscated.

Koster and Morrison refused to comment Tuesday on Robinson's sexual relationships.

The bodies found near La Cygne appeared to have been in the barrels for several months, Morrison said. The bodies found in the 10-by-12 foot storage locker in Raymore had been there for months or years, Koster said. Luggage and other items were stacked on top of the barrels in the back of the locker.

One of the victims was Suzette Trouten, 28, formerly of Monroe County, Mich., The Kansas City Star reported today. Lee Shukait, her cousin, said Trouten moved to the Kansas City area to look for work but the family had not had contact with her since March.

Relatives said authorities told them Tuesday of her death.