Man who set woman on fire indicted for murder with death specification

It’s the second pending capital case in Butler County.

A man accused of setting Brenda Scott on fire and killing her last month at a Fairfield Twp. home was indicted again today, this time for aggravated murder that carries the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

Robbi Robinson was initially indicted by a Butler County grand jury for attempted aggravated murder, felonious assault and aggravated arson after his arrest on May 11 as he attempted to leave the scene on Arroyo Ridge Court. That was before Scott died.

He is being held in lieu of lieu of $1 million bond on those charges. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on the superseding indictment of aggravated murder with the specification of arson, which elevates the charge to a capital case. He was also indicted for aggravated arson and felonious assault.

It’s the second pending capital case in Butler County.

Prosecutors say Robinson filled a container with accelerant, took it to an upstairs bedroom, doused the 50-year-old woman with it and lit her on fire. He is also accused of hitting her in the face knocking out teeth. Scott jumped out a window to escape.

Last week, Robinson was in Judge Keith Spaeth’s court for a competency evaluation hearing, where he was declared competent to stand trial on the original charges.

After last weeks hearing, court-appointed defense attorney David Brewer said the case is essentially in a holding pattern until it is re-presented to a grand jury. He said then if a murder charge with a death specification is returned, Robinson may receive additional evaluations and a not guilty by reason of insanity charge is possible.

Scott was found on fire in her backyard by a neighbor, who called 911.

Robinson’s initial arraignment last month shed light on some of case details.

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Katie Pridemore requested the judge set a high bond, outlining the trauma Scott suffered that included two teeth being knocked out by the roots in addition to the burns and injuries from jumping out a second floor window.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

At the time of the arrest, Robinson was possibly having “suicidal ideations”, and while he has been in the Butler County Jail, phone calls to family indicate he tried to reach out to the victim, Pridemore said.

In jail-monitored phone calls made while the victim was still living, Robinson said he “wants someone to get into the hospital room, talk to the victim, talk her out of prosecuting, have her drop the charges ...” Pridemore said.

If out on bond, Pridemore said she believed he would have tried to have access to the victim “to harm her, to harass her and to intimidate her.”

The neighbor called 911 and jumped a fence to help the woman.

“I see a little fire next to her and she is laying in the backyard,” the man told the dispatcher. “She is talking to me. She is hurt bad.”

The woman can be heard in the background saying, ”he set me on fire.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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