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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Sikeston man is acquitted by a Butler County jury

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Robinson was accused of being an accomplice in the 2005 murder of Trevor Neal

SIKESTON -- A Sikeston man who was convicted of second degree murder in 2005 and was serving a 30-year sentence in the Department of Corrections is now free.

A Butler County jury acquitted Justin Robinson of Sikeston on charges alleging his connection as an accomplice in the May 24, 2003, shooting death of Trevor Neal, 19. Neal was shot at Dixie and Osage streets in Sikeston's Sunset Addition. The jury trial was July 23 and 24, and held in Butler County due to a change of venue.

"We're very happy with the verdict -- I feel that justice was served," said Jacob Zimmerman, his attorney with the public defender's office. "It's a shame that it took five years, but hopefully Justin can now go on with his life."

The case was tried by assistant state attorney generals, said Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd. He had originally tried the case in Mississippi County, also on a change of venue.

"It's my understanding that the witnesses who had testified at the three previous trials between Robinson and Randy McKeller (convicted of first degree murder for shooting Neal) changed their testimony at this trial, which had an impact on the jury's verdict," said Boyd.

Scott Holste, a spokesman for the Attorney General's office, said the office respects the jury's decision. "This is why we have an appeals system and a jury system in place," he said.

McKeller remains in the DOC, and his appeal was denied, according to Zimmerman.