Punishment Phase Begins in Robertson Murder Trial

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A day after finding Stanley Robertson guilty, a Brazos County jury returned to court Friday morning to begin hearing arguments and testimony about the College Station man's punishment for capital murder.

The fifth day of the trial began with testimony from Fort Worth police officers about the chase Robertson led FWPD on early on the morning of August 14, 2010. He crashed his SUV intentionally into a patrol car while going the wrong way on a highway.

By the afternoon, jurors heard a phone recording between Robertson and his ex-girlfriend, Tammy Toliver, made as Robertson drove to the Metroplex.

There are only two options on the table for the seven men and five women that make up the jury. Either Robertson gets life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

The State of Texas will argue for death as punishment for the August 13, 2010 kidnapping and murder of Annie Toliver. She was the mother of Tammy, who had allegedly been held at knife-point in front of her children a month before Annie Toliver's murder.

Robertson said Tammy was the reason he was killing Annie, that Tammy had not visited him in jail, been there for him when he bonded out August 1, 2010, or returned his phone calls in the days following.

Annie Toliver was suffered 38 wounds courtesy of a five-inch utility knife Robertson had purchased less than an hour before he first attacked Toliver in the College Station Walmart parking lot. The wounded woman was driven to Fort Worth and dumped in a parking lot where she was found dead early on August 14.

Fort Worth Police Officer Kerry Gober testified about Robertson slamming his SUV into Gober's patrol car on Highway 287. He remembered turning the car slightly to the left to avoid a full, head-on collision. The force of the crash pushed Gober's gun through his vest, causing his lung to collapse. He also had to have an elbow rebuilt, and suffered a head injury. Gober had to serve desk duty for a year while he rehabbed and recovered.

Later, Tammy Toliver took the stand, and the conversation between her and Robertson from August 13, 2010, was played. Robertson repeatedly claimed Tammy was the reason this was happening, and that she had lied to him and not been there for him. At one point, Annie Toliver is put on the conversation, telling her daughter that she was "all cut up."

Tammy's son also testified about the July 2010 domestic violence incident that ended Tammy and Robertson's relationship. Robertson held Tammy at knifepoint in front of her children. The son called 9-1-1, the recording of which was played for the jury. A hostage situation that night ended with Robertson's arrest.

In its opening arguments on the first day of the trial, the defense said it would argue that Robertson was mentally retarded. That would make him ineligible for the death penalty according to the U.S. Supreme Court, which deemed it cruel and unusual punishment, thus unconstitutional.

According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there are three prongs of mental retardation that must be met in order to show someone has the disorder:

- an IQ below 70, or below 75 within a margin of error
- clear deficiencies in adaptive behavior
- the low IQ and deficiencies clearly showing up before the age of 18

Prosecutors will need to show the jury that Robertson is a clear and present danger to others, that there are no mitigating circumstances that should prevent him from being executed, and that he is not mentally retarded.