LOCKPORT – Erie County Assistant District Attorney James F. Bargnesi was named Thursday as the special prosecutor for the second trial of Kelvin W. Robinson, a Niagara Falls man whose guilty plea to stabbing his wife to death was invalidated on appeal.
State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. scheduled a tentative Dec. 9 trial date for Robinson, 56, who is charged with one count of second-degree murder in the March 14, 2004, death of his wife Coleen Robinson, 38, in their home on Niagara Avenue. The couple had a son, now 16, who is being raised by the victim’s mother.
Bargnesi said the Appellate Division’s June 14 ruling “doesn’t change the facts and circumstances, which were that it was a very vicious and brutal crime.”
The appeals court threw out Robinson’s guilty plea to murder with “depraved indifference to human life” because subsequent court rulings have changed the interpretation of that section of the law, and Robinson’s statements didn’t correspond to the requirements for using it. He is now charged only with intentional murder.
Robinson contended when he pleaded guilty that his wife of five years pulled a knife on him during an argument, and he grabbed it from her and stabbed her in the throat and in the back.
Kloch set bail at $2 million for Robinson, who was represented Thursday by Niagara County Assistant Public Defender Michael E. Benedict. Rochester attorney Brian Shiffrin was the lawyer who handled Robinson’s successful appeal, after two others had failed.