Three face capital murder charges in 2009 cold case from Collin County
March 22, 2018 | By Valerie Wigglesworth – via dallasnews.com
Answers have finally arrived for the family of a Dallas man whose decomposing body was found in the trunk of his car at an abandoned Collin County gas station nearly nine years ago.
Richard Robinson, 49, died of homicidal violence, according to his July 2009 autopsy. But it wasn’t until Friday that three people were charged in connection with his death.
“The family had pretty much given up on finding out who killed him,” said his brother, Ronald Robinson of Mesquite. “It was very frustrating.”
Robinson was reported missing on July 27, 2009. Within hours, Melissa Police discovered his 2001 gray Hyundai at the vacant Harlow’s Gas Station on Telephone Road near Highway 75. His body was inside.
Through phone records, investigators learned that Robinson met up with a friend named Stacy Maloney at the 777 Club in Dallas a week earlier. Maloney told police back then that the two had several drinks together and then parted ways.
Police followed up on several leads, but the case soon went cold. Last fall, a team from Melissa police, the Texas Rangers and the Collin County District Attorney’s Office got together to review the case and discovered a viable lead — Maloney’s boyfriend had never been formally interviewed.
Investigators tracked down Mitchell Jones with the help of Louisiana State Police and had him come in for an interview at the police department in Kenner, La.
It was there, during that interview two weeks ago, that Jones filled in the gaps about Robinson’s fate.
‘Money and drugs’
Jones told police that Maloney had “a guy she goes out with who is always throwing money and drugs” and came up with a plan to rob him of both, according to a probable cause affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Robinson drove his car to the house in Dallas that Jones shared with Maloney. When he walked up, “I grabbed him and pulled him into the garage, and we struggled,” Jones told police. Jones said he used a cord to choke Robinson until he stopped moving.
Robinson then was stripped down to his boxer shorts and put in his car trunk. Jones told investigators he drove Robinson’s car “out to the country” and parked at an abandoned store front. Maloney and her friend Jasmine Salaz, who were following Jones in his car, stopped along the way and bought bleach.
At the abandoned gas station in Melissa, the three opened the trunk, doused the body with bleach and drove off, Jones said.
Melissa Police Detective Bryan Kile said that the information Jones provided matched several details in Robinson’s death. That led to arrest warrants for capital murder for Jones, 35; Maloney, who now goes by Stacy Johnson, 37; and Salaz, 31.
Bail is set at $1 million for Johnson and Salaz, who are being held in the Collin County Detention Center. Jones is being extradicted from Louisiana.
All three have previously been arrested. Records show Johnson and Salaz have served time in prison for unrelated crimes. Jones received deferred adjudication on a drug possession case in Collin County in 2008.
‘Always there for us’
Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis said that sometimes a fresh set of eyes can crack a cold case wide open. These arrests were the result of the team put together to review the evidence, he said.
“As prosecutors we take this solemn oath to pursue justice no matter how many years have passed,” he said.
Robinson was separated from his wife at the time of his death. The couple had three children together. His job involved tracking inventory for grocery stores. What his brother remembers most is Robinson’s helpful nature.
“He was always there for us,” Ronald Robinson said.
News of the arrests has now shifted to the slain man’s family getting justice for him.
“I’ll do all in my power to make sure that happens,” Ronald Robinson said.
How to help: Investigators are asking anyone with information about this crime or possible other crimes that the three suspects may have been involved in to call Melissa Police at 972-838-2033.