Charges against Scott Edward Robinson stemming from three separate incidents were bound over for trial in Cumberland County Court after a preliminary hearing Wednesday in which Robinson chose to act as his own attorney.
Robinson faces misdemeanor charges of defiant trespass, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and possession of an instrument of crime in an April 30 incident in which he allegedly cut down a fence at a home on Georgetown Circle in the borough, and a misdemeanor charge of defiant trespass for trespassing on the victim’s property May 4.
Also held over for court were five charges related to a May 16 incident in the 100 block of South West Street in which he is alleged to have attempted to break into a home during a dispute with the home’s residents. Robinson is charged with felony burglary, criminal trespass, misdemeanor resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and summary criminal mischief.
The last incident occurred on the evening of the primary election in which Robinson received 750 votes to place his name on the ballot as the Republican candidate for mayor of Carlisle in the November general election.
As Wednesday’s preliminary hearing began, Robinson’s attorney, Taylor P. Andrews, told the court that Robinson had not agreed to the terms he had set for representation.
“I don’t believe I can proceed as counsel,” Andrews said.
Magisterial District Justice Jonathan Birbeck initially tried to convince Robinson to change his mind, but relented after a brief consultation with Andrews and Daniel J. Sodus, assistant district attorney.
“Rather than delay this any longer, we are going to allow you to represent yourself,” Birbeck said.
Witnesses then started telling the stories of their encounters with Robinson.
A homeowner in the 1200 block of Georgetown Circle said Robinson rang his doorbell about 6 a.m. on April 30. By the time the homeowner could get to the door, Robinson had left. The homeowner, however, looked out the door just in time to see his fence toppling over after being cut down with what Sodus described as a reciprocating saw.
The homeowner testified that repairs to the fence cost $2,180.
In a cross-examination that consisted of more statements than questions, Robinson challenged the homeowner on the location of the fence, suggesting that the fence actually was on neighboring property and not on the homeowner’s property.
Robinson also said he rang the doorbell to initiate a conversation over his concerns about the fence.
According to the homeowner, Carlisle police who responded to the scene told Robinson that he was not to be on the neighboring property. The homeowner followed that up with a letter, hand-delivered by a constable, that indicated Robinson was not to trespass on the property and that he could be charged with defiant trespass if he did so.
When shown a copy of the letter, Robinson said he did receive a letter, but did not pay much attention to it. He added that the letter he was shown may not be the same letter he received.
He then objected to the letter being introduced as evidence saying it was an attempt to “murky waters with additional paperwork.”
Birbeck overruled to objection, saying the letter was relevant.
“Right hand up to God, I did not trespass on your property ever,” Robinson told the homeowner.
The testimony of the next witness countered that declaration. The witness, who lived diagonally from the homeowner in the first incident, said he had been coming home from work around 7:30 p.m. on May 4 when he saw Robinson walk down his driveway and cross diagonally where he went about halfway up the driveway at the home he had been ordered to stay away from.
The witness said he didn’t know if Robinson went to the door of the residence.
In his cross-examination, Robinson suggested that the witness was mistaken in his identification of the man walking up the driveway.
The final incident took place on May 16. The victim, who identified Robinson as her landlord, said he had knocked on the door and started complaining about the screen door she had replaced. She said he had demanded a key to the door, and started “flipping out” before he attempted to push his way into the house.
She said Robinson then came back with a hammer and started to destroy the door.
Robinson’s cross-examination started with questions about the victim’s legal name and employment, which Birbeck quickly stopped saying it was not relevant to the matter. Robinson also disputed the victim’s testimony that he had never been in the home before.
Cpl. Andrew Van Volkenburg of the Carlisle Police Department then testified that Robinson was in front of the house when he arrived on the scene. Officers tried to talk Robinson into putting down a drill he was holding. Eventually, they told Robinson he was under arrest, but Robinson resisted, and was Tasered once with no effect. With the second Taser, officers were able to move in to arrest him.
Under cross-examination, Robinson asked how many times he was Tasered, declaring that he only recalled being Tasered once. It was one of several times during the cross-examination that Robinson said the police account of the incident was “not my recollection.”
Robinson took issue with Van Volkenburg writing the affidavit rather than the person who collected information about the incident. Van Volkenburg countered that it was standard for officers on the scene to share information and for one officer to write the affidavit.
Robinson also said the report made it sound like he was moving around, but that he had not actually moved off the stoop. He also challenged Van Volkenburg’s testimony that it took several requests for him to put down the drill, and expressed disagreement with the statements that he was screaming and yelling.
Robinson then chose to testify on his own behalf saying that the April 30 incident stemmed from the homeowner installing a bird feeder that brought birds chirping all through the night, which he reported as a nuisance. Robinson also said the fence was unsightly and “out of alignment with neighborhood norms.” He also said it was a “mischaracterization” to say his use of a saw on the fence was using it as a weapon.
Robinson said officers never told him to stay away from that property, but that he never went near the property again and even avoided the neighborhood completely.
As to the May 16 incident, he said the victim shows “a pattern of lies” and “a pattern of evading contact” in his dealings with her. He continued to maintain that the incident was a landlord-tenant issue concerning the replacement of the screen door.
“I was not attempting to enter. I was not attempting to harm them,” Robinson said.
Birbeck held bail at $75,000 as Robinson awaits an Aug. 24 arraignment in county court on the charges from all three incidents.
Having learned that Robinson had attempted to contact witnesses and victims in the case, Sodus asked that the bail order stipulate that Robinson is to have no contact with them. Birbeck also agreed to order a mental health evaluation for Robinson.