The Most Disturbing Details About John Edward Robinson

Serial killers are known to sport a series of different guises in order to deceive their victims and society at large. Perhaps the most seasoned practitioner of such morbid subterfuge is John Edward Robinson. Often referred to as "the Internet's first serial killer," Robinson became infamous after his 2002 conviction connecting him to a series of murders, disappearances, and sex crimes. He is reported to have slain eight women between 1984 and 2000 (via Murderpedia). 

John Edward Robinson (December 27, 1943) grew up in Cicero, Illinois. As an Eagle Scout and catholic school student, things seemed normal on the surface but behind closed doors, Robinson's family life was unsavory. With an alcoholic father and a mother whose demeanor was reportedly cold and driven by rigorous discipline, tensions ran high within the house. He initially opted for a life in the clergy, but dropped out his freshman year due to poor grades and bad behavior. He then enrolled in a trade school and, despite a mere two-year stint studying radiology that ended prematurely, was hired as an X-ray technician by counterfeiting fake credentials (per Radford University). In 1964, he married Nancy Joe Lynch and fathered a son (John Jr., 1965) and a pair of twins (Christopher and Christine, 1971) with her in the years following. By then, he was living in Kansas City, MO, masquerading as a well-intentioned family man who was focused on his community and loved ones (via Murderpedia). 

Early crimes and fraud

Prior to his killing career, John Edward Robinson had already built up a criminal rap sheet by conning money from several different businesses throughout the years. In 1969, he was sentenced to three years probation after embezzling $33,000 from Dr. Wallace Graham, for whom he was working as an X-ray technician. A subsequent arrest for the same type of crime (embezzlement) cropped up a year later while he was working at R.B Jones Company, a job that he illegally took back in Illinois without notifying the courts or his probation officer. He was then arrested again in 1975 for securities/mail fraud (via Murderpedia). 

It would seem that there was no escape from his penchant for deception. In 1977, in fact, Robinson joined the board of directors for a local charity for handicapped persons through tactful manipulation of the group's coordinators. He then created a "Man of the Year" award and granted the title to himself after forging letters of praise and endorsements from various local figures — including the executive director for the mayor of Kansas City. He also volunteered as a baseball coach, a Scoutmaster, and a Sunday school teacher (per Murderpedia). After a time, the press and other community members caught on and he became the centerpiece of local news outlets who had their sights set on exposing him (via Radford University).

Affiliations with sadomasochistic groups

John Edward Robinson's fraudulent exploits would continue until and throughout his killing spree, and he was arrested again in 1980 for embezzlement and check forgery (he spent 60 days in jail in 1982). He also requested $25,000 from a friend with the promise of investing it in a phantom hydroponics business he'd conceived – a venture that naturally drew no returns for the unfortunate associate who hoped to fund his wife's hospital bills with the earnings. It was around this time that more perverse, sinister attributes started bleeding through the surface of Robinson's personality. He started sexually harassing the wives of his neighbors and invited several of them to engage in affairs with him, further stigmatizing his dwindling reputation within the community (per Murderpedia). 

In addition to various relationships he'd been sustaining outside of his marriage, Robinson reportedly joined a secret sadomasochistic group called the International Council of Masters (ICM). According to Serial Killer Calendar, the club practiced domination/degradation of women both physically and emotionally for fetishistic gratification, and as the group's official "Slave Master," it was Robinson's duty to recruit female participants for ceremonies.

First murders and abductions

Robinson's first suspected victim was 19-year-old Paula Godfrey. In 1984, he commissioned Godfrey to work as a sales representative for two fraudulent shell companies he'd fabricated. After being "sent away on training," Godfrey's parents received a typed letter from their daughter stating that she was "OK," but she wished to sever all ties with them. The letter arrived only after the couple had filed a missing person's report, but since their daughter was over the age of 18 and there were no tangible hints of foul play, authorities dismissed investigative efforts entirely. Her whereabouts remain unknown to this day (via Murderpedia). 

A year later, Robinson met 19-year-old Lisa Stasi and her 4-month-old daughter at a battered women's shelter in Kansas City. He offered her employment using the alias "John Osborne," and Stasi went missing shortly thereafter. Following her disappearance, Robinson handed over Tiffany, Stasi's infant daughter, to his brother and sister-in-law claiming that the child's mother had committed suicide (he provided forged legal documents confirming the incident). The couple, after failing to conceive a child of their own, adopted the baby for a $5,500 attorney fee. Of course, no attorney existed and the money was reportedly pocketed by Robinson (per Radford University).

Catherine Clampitt (27) fled Wichita Falls, Texas in 1987, leaving her parents to the task of raising her infant child without her. Upon arriving in Kansas City, she met Robinson, who promised her a job and a fresh start. Nobody has seen her since June of 1987 (via Murderpedia). 

The first 'Internet Serial Killer'

Following a 1985 conviction for conning $50,000 through a false condominium sale, Robinson spent seven years in prison starting in 1987 (shortly after Catherine Clampitt vanished). It was during his incarceration that he learned how to use a computer and write software programs, and when he was released in 1993, his technological expertise coincided with the internet boom that was sweeping the world. He started trolling BDSM chatrooms under the screen name "Slavemaster" in search of female victims through a new, more covert medium (via Serial Killer Calendar). He'd enter chats rooms and advertise fetishistic services to women seeking a bondage relationship. 

21-year-old Izabela Lewicka met Robinson via the internet in 1999. He invited her to come live with him in Kansas City (she was living in Indiana at the time) and, despite being married himself, bought her an engagement ring. She signed a 115 item "slave contract" that granted him total control over virtually every area of her life and she disappeared later on that year. Shortly thereafter, Suzette Trouten moved from Michigan to Kansas City after meeting Robinson in a chatroom. She readily offered him her social security number so he could get her a passport for travel abroad but she went missing shortly after arriving in Missouri to meet Robinson. His pattern of perverse sexual interactions continued with multiple women until his crimes bubbled to the surface and police apprehended him in June of 2000 (via Murderpedia).

Arrest and conviction

In time, Robinson's tact and caution began to subside and after two women filed assault and battery charges against him, police arrested him at his farm in Kansas. A thorough search of the property was carried out and two bodies, confirmed to be those of Izabela Lewicka and Suzette Trouten, were found dissolving in large chemical drums. An elaborate investigation of a storage facility he'd rented out nearby exhumed three more bodies in similar chemical drums, those of Beverly Bonner and Sheila and Debbie Faith. All three had, like the others, been reported missing in years prior (per Murderpedia). The subsequent trial became a lengthy one in which the murder allegations regarding Izabela Lewicka and Lisa Stasi were ultimately voided, but Robinson was delivered the death penalty in 2002 when the court ruled the death of Suzette Trouten a capital murder offense (via Heavy). He's currently housed in a Kansas federal prison awaiting his punishment.

"I've dealt with a wide variety of characters, but never anyone like Robinson," said Stephen Haymes, John Edward Robinson's longtime parole officer. "He's just chilling. There are so many sides to him. There is the con man after money. There is the murderer. There is the sexual deviant. There is the cover-up artist — the lies, endless lies" (via Vanity Fair).