Arkansas man sentenced to life in prison for 2016 killing of Kansas motorcyclist

Friday, September 7, 2018
Ronnie Robinson

NEW MADRID, Mo. - An Arkansas man was sentenced to life in a Missouri prison for the kidnapping and murder of a Kansas motorcyclist.

Ronnie C. Robinson of North Little Rock, Ark., was sentenced Thursday by Judge Fred W. Copeland to life in the Missouri Department of Corrections for second degree murder, 25 years in the DOC on charges of first degree robbery and kidnapping and seven years for tampering. The robbery, kidnapping and tampering sentences will run concurrently; they will run consecutively to the life in prison sentence.

Robinson was sentenced in connection with the death of Larry Weaver, a 66-year-old motorcyclist, who was killed while apparently trying to prevent the theft of his vehicle in the early morning hours of June 27, 2016. Weaver’s body was found July 2, 2016, in a cotton field in New Madrid County.

Robinson was found guilty following a two-day jury trial this past July.

According to New Madrid County Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Lawson, because second degree murder and first degree robbery are each classified as “dangerous felonies,” Robinson is required to serve 85 percent of those sentences before he is eligible for parole. The earliest possible date Robinson could be released would be in July 2062 when he is 96 years old, Lawson pointed out.

“Both the state of Missouri and Larry Weaver’s family are very pleased with this sentence,” Lawson said. “A horrific crime like this deserves an equally harsh sentence.”

During the trial, Larenzle Coleman, who is also charged with second degree murder in connection with the case, testified he, Robinson and his sister, Elsie Coleman Robinson, who had married Robinson, were attempting to steal a motorcycle on June 26, 2016. When they saw Weaver’s motorcycle at a Sikeston motel they backed their trailer up and loaded the vehicle on it.

However, before exiting the parking lot, Weaver discovered the theft and jumped onto the trailer. Eventually he worked his way into the bed of the truck.

After traveling several miles, Coleman said Robinson drove the truck onto a rural New Madrid County road and eventually into a cotton field. Coleman testified it was Robinson who beat Weaver and tied him up leaving the man in the field.

Pathologist Dr. Russell Deidiker testified during the trial that his autopsy determined Weaver’s death was a homicide caused by blunt head trauma and likely strangulation from the way in which Weaver was tied.

The prosecutor said Weaver deserved a better fate than he received at the hands of Robinson.

“Although torture is a relative term that is often times over used, when I attempt to describe what this defendant did to Larry Weaver, torture doesn’t seem to be big enough to cover it,” Lawson said.

“The senseless nature of this murder has resonated all over the United States,” Lawson continued. “Since July 2016, I have received more than 40 letters from 17 different states from complete strangers who never knew Larry Weaver yet each person felt compelled to write a letter to my office on Larry’s behalf.”

Lawson said he, too, felt a personal connection with Weaver as he worked on the evidence presented at the trial.

He pointed out Weaver was in the U. S. Navy, serving three tours in Vietnam. After his discharge from the military, Weaver attended college. The father and grandfather had recently retired after working 20 years as a computer programmer at a Kansas university.

“Larry Weaver was a true American who devoted his life to public service and he earned his retirement. Larry and his amazing wife Regina should be enjoying every minute of their retired lives together traveling this country on Larry’s Harley but instead Regina Weaver has spent the last two years of her retirement without her husband and the only traveling she has done is from her home in Pittsburg, Kansas, to New Madrid, Missouri, and back,” Lawson said.

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