Clinton man accused of attempted murder freed

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Frank Schultz
Wednesday, February 12, 2014

JANESVILLE—A man who repeatedly pulled the trigger of a handgun aimed at a police officer was freed Wednesday and allowed to return to his home in Clinton.

Terrance P. Robinson, 59, of 703 Carol St., Apt. K, Clinton, will have an electronic monitoring device strapped to his ankle. He will get daily visits from people who will help him take his medications.

Doctors believe those medications will keep him from being a danger to himself and others, but he could become dangerous again if he stops taking them, and that's what worries Dave Hooker, the officer he tried to kill last May.

Robinson had grabbed Hooker's sidearm during a scuffle in Robinson's apartment and pulled the trigger with the barrel about an inch from Hooker's chest.

Hooker grabbed the gun and pushed the slide back far enough to keep it from firing, according to the criminal complaint.

Hooker's voice wavered with emotion as he spoke in Rock County Court on Wednesday.

“I have concerns about him coming back. I have concerns for the safety of the community and the people around him,” Hooker said.

Hooker was recently named Clinton's police chief, so he told Judge James Daley that he also is worried for the safety of his officers and firefighters, should they be called to Robinson's home.

Hooker said after the hearing he will create a protocol that requires no officer visit the Robinson home alone and that emergency responders not enter without police protection.

District Attorney David O'Leary and Daley both expressed concern, but they were bound by the civil-commitment requirements of state law.

The case ceased to be a criminal matter when Daley found Robinson not guilty of attempted murder, by reason of mental disease or defect.

“Because we are dealing with treatment of a mental illness and not punishment for a crime, the court must use the least restrictive placement appropriate,” O'Leary said in an email after the hearing.

“In this case, all of the medical professionals and Lutheran Social Services, whom the state contracts with to provide supervision of (not-guilty by reason of insanity) defendants, were of the opinion that he could be safely supervised in the community,” O'Leary wrote. 

Robinson has been diagnosed as schizophrenic/bipolar.

Daley said he received reports that Robinson had been very compliant while in custody.

“We just have to make sure he stays that way,” Daley said. “… The risk to the community will be minimized to the extent it can be.”

Robinson worked at Regal Beloit for 35 years, and his wife said the company is interested in hiring him again, defense attorney Walter Isaacson told the court.

Daley read off a long list of conditions for Robinson's release, including:

-- No contact with firearms.

-- No alcohol, and staying out of any place whose main purpose is selling alcohol.

-- Frequent visits from a social worker and case officer.

-- Urinalysis, at least once a week.

-- No travel outside Wisconsin. No travel outside Rock County without approval.

-- Contribute to the costs of his treatment, to the extent he can pay.

Daley warned Robinson that if he violated the conditions, the court would order him to in-patient treatment.

“You understand that?” Daley asked at several junctures.

“Yes, sir,” Robinson responded each time.

“In a perfect world, no one would have anything to worry about,” Daley said, noting the precautions that are being taken. “Problem is, this is not a perfect world.”

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