Pelican Bay woman cut husband’s throat, buried him in yard, investigators say

Posted Thursday, Jul. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Neola “Cotton” Robinson confided in her boyfriend that in 2010 she cut her husband’s throat, moved his body using an air mattress and buried him in the front yard, according to a new search warrant affidavit obtained by the Star-Telegram on Thursday.

During the night of May 31, 2010, Neola Robinson dragged Pleasant Ervin Robinson’s body to a hole that had been dug to correct a waterline problem at the mobile home at 1501 Partridge Court, the affidavit, submitted by Texas Ranger Clair Barnes, says.

Neola Robinson cut his throat with a paring knife while he slept, according to the affidavit. He bled to death.

“We had suspected something like that,” said Crystal Robinson of Lake Worth, one of his daughters. “I really thought he had been chopped up.”

Robinson, 57, who went by “Shorty,” had been missing since Memorial Day weekend 2010. Investigators searched the couple’s property and reported seeing a spot in the yard where the dirt had been disturbed. But Neola Robinson said she had buried a dog there.

Investigators found evidence that she had owned a dog, and the grave didn’t appear large enough for a person, they reported.

On Saturday, Texas Rangers re-interviewed Neola Robinson at a Texas Department of Public Safety office in Hurst and told her that they had new information in the case. Neola Robinson agreed to return home to show officers where her husband was buried.

She led officers to the northeast side of the corner lot, pointed and said, “I put him right here,” according to the affidavit.

While searching the single-wide mobile home, Rangers found a calendar with writing on it — “words to the [e]ffect ‘Neola Robinson was tired of this issue being brought up and she did not want the children of Pleasant Robinson to have anything she owned,’” they reported.

She was arrested Saturday. On Monday, Rangers and staff from the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office exhumed the body.

DPS Sgt. Lonny Haschel said Thursday that no other arrests have been made but that the investigation is ongoing.

Differing accounts

During her interview with the Rangers, Neola Robinson gave a version of the attack that differed from her boyfriend’s. She said she fought with her husband the night of May 31, 2010, and sprayed a chemical in his eyes. At some point, she grabbed a knife, cut his hand, and ran to her bedroom and locked the door.

He sat down in a living room chair, and she found him dead the next morning, according to the affidavit.

She told investigators that she left the body in the chair until the night of June 1, 2010, when she placed it on an air mattress and dragged it to the hole in the front yard, the affidavit stated.

However, during the weekend of interviews, the boyfriend told Rangers that Neola Robinson had confided in him that she cut her husband’s throat while he slept in their bed in the master bedroom, according to the affidavit.

Days after the killing, her boyfriend told Rangers, he helped Neola Robinson move a mattress and bedsprings to the curb for garbage pickup.

The Star-Telegram is not naming the boyfriend because authorities have not accused him of a crime.

Cold case reopened

The case was reopened June 6 when Pelican Bay Police Chief James Frawley contacted Rangers.

Ranger Barnes re-interviewed witnesses and reviewed evidence gathered in 2010.

Shorty Robinson had been married eight times before. He and Neola had been married for three years when trouble began in 2010, relatives say.

Pelican Bay police responded to a domestic dispute between the couple on May 22, 2010. On that night, and after officers left their home, the couple went to an Azle bar. Neola Robinson told a female friend of her husband’s that he had better not come home or “he would be missing body parts,” according the affidavit.

Investigators noted that during the search for Shorty Robinson, his wife seemed uninterested in finding him, the affidavit stated.

Shorty Robinson was reported missing on June 16, 2010, by his employer. Neola Robinson told authorities that her husband left with another woman and moved to Ontario, Calif., but authorities found no trace of him there.

About that time, Neola Robinson started an intimate relationship with another man, even giving him a shirt that Shorty Robinson had worn, his family said.

During summer 2010, Neola Robinson used an ATM debit card to draw from Shorty Robinson’s personal checking account. Two checks with his signature were also cashed during that time, according to the affidavit.

Authorities searched the home in August 2010 and found a large bloodstain in the bathroom. They also noted that the residence was much cleaner than when officers responded to the domestic dispute call in May.

Neola Robinson remained in the Tarrant County Jail on Thursday and is on suicide watch, jail officials said.

She faces a murder charge. Bail is set at $150,000.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763 Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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1501 Partridge Court, Pelican Bay, TX
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