Trial canceled for Fairfield Twp. man accused of setting woman on fire

Robbi Robinson, whose competency is questioned, faces the death penalty if convicted.

The capital murder trial scheduled to begin this summer has been canceled for a Fairfield Twp. man accused for setting a woman on fire last year.

Robbi Robinson, 24, is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated arson and felonious assault for the May 11, 2023, incident on Arroyo Ridge Court. Robinson was arrested as he attempted to leave the scene.

The victim, Brenda Scott, 50, died of her injuries a few weeks later. Robinson faces the death penalty if convicted.

Robinson’s competency to stand trial has been questioned, and several forensic evaluations have been ordered. He was scheduled to be back in Butler County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday for a evaluation hearing, but the latest results were not completed.

Judge Keith Spaeth then vacated Robinson’s trial date of Aug. 26 and reset the competency hearing for June 21.

Robinson’s competency first came into question in March after a psychologist said he claimed to be “the Supreme Being,” according to court records.

Defense attorneys David Brewer and Lawrence Hawkins III said in the formal motion, “Mr. Robinson was so delusional that Dr. Jenny O’Donnell could could not complete her evaluation. Mr. Robinson claimed to be ‘the Supreme Being’ and made other claims that the court had no power over him.”

O’Donnell said the entire interview with Robinson on March 4 was “cold, difficult and painful. She even felt physically uncomfortable due to his demeanor,” the court document states.

In November the defense requested a continuance of the three-week trial scheduled to begin in February, citing a preliminary forensic assessment indicated there is likely an issue with Robinson having a serious mental illness. But to confirm such assessment, more information and assessment was needed.

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.

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

Robinson’s initial arraignment in May 2023 shed light on some of case details.

Butler County Assistant 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.

“I see a little fire next to her and she is laying in the backyard,” the man who called 911 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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