State Continues Push Back Against Robertson Defense

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Both sides in the trial of convicted College Station killer Stanley Robertson hoped the thirteenth day of the trial will not be unlucky for their sides.

The defense rested its initial portion of its case in punishment Wednesday, working to convince the jury that there are mitigating circumstances that will convince the jury that the proper punishment is life in prison without possibility of parole.

However, a pause in prosecution rebuttal witnesses was called because a defense witness was only available Thursday morning for an hour. That witness was Dr. Tony Strickland, a psychologist who conducted testing on Robertson. The prosecution's own psychologist, Dr. Tim Proctor, began testifying at day's end.

Meanwhile, sources say an investigation is underway into possible threats Robertson made against another inmate at the Brazos County Jail Wednesday night. The Sheriff's Office has no comment because it is an internal matter. However, prosecutors are looking into the matter and interviewing individuals who could be called to testify, though its unclear if any testimony will take place.

The 45-year-old was convicted of capital murder on February 7 for the August 2010 kidnapping and stabbing death of Annie Toliver, the mother of his ex-girlfriend. Toliver's body was dumped in Fort Worth before Robertson led authorities on a chase through the city. It ended with Robertson intentionally crashing his SUV into a patrol car.

Robertson said he was doing this to get back at the ex-girlfriend for not being there for him, even after a July 2010 domestic dispute and hostage situation where Robertson held her at knifepoint.

Strickland's IQ test of Robertson was scored as a 71, which falls into a range for mild mental retardation. There had been questions about the testing conditions. Strickland answered that the conditions were among the top five percent of any tests he had given. Strickland did note Robertson gave good effort in his mind, though on what is known as the Validity Indicator Profile test, Robertson failed on one of two components. Mentally retarded people fail all of the VIP test 95 percent of the time, he says.

The prosecution followed up, bringing forward the fact that Strickland resigned from involvement in the case about a year ago because of other professional commitments. He did not speak to family or friends of Robertson's. Strickland and the defendant did go into Robertson's extensive drug use in his 20s and 30s, but he could not find notes on potential concussions, both of which could have lowered his mental abilities.

Proctor's testimony Thursday compared the IQ test he conducted in 2013 to Strickland's 2011 test. For Proctor's 2013 test, Robertson scored a 62, a major difference, Proctor said. There were also tests given to Robertson meant to measure effort, tests that Proctor says showed Robertson may not have been doing his best. He had been told he was taking tests from a prosecution psychologist, Proctor said.

The defense has impressed upon the jury that Robertson had a rough upbringing, including extreme poverty, exposure to pesticides on the Alabama farmland he worked, constant teasing, and sexual abuse. They also claim, with backing from expert testimony, that Robertson is mentally retarded and ineligible for the death penalty by virtue of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Prosecutors have pushed back that many people experience some or all of the same issues Robertson faced as a child, but did not commit heinous crimes.