Frank Robinson's sentence for 2006 deadly fire suspended, will serve probation

Frank Jerome Robinson (Source: KDOC)
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Almost 13 years after a woman was killed in an apartment fire in a central Topeka neighborhood, Frank Jerome Robinson learned his fate Thursday after pleading guilty to two charges stemming from the deadly blaze.

Robinson was given 144 months in prison, but the judge suspended that sentence and placed him on 36 months, after granting a dispositional departure, the Shawnee Co. District Attorney's Chief of Staff Charles Kitt said.

In May, Robinson pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and arson for the 2006 fire, at an apartment house in the 400 block of SW Tyler, that killed 53-year-old Marvina Washington.

If he violates his probation, the court could order Robinson to serve the remainder of his sentence, followed by 36 months of post-release supervision.

Should he return to jail, however, Robinson would only need to serve 22 months of that sentence after having previously served 122 months in prison following his prior conviction of unintentional second-degree murder and aggravated arson, stemming from the fire.

That sentence was overturned in 2016 when the a judge ruled Robinson received ineffective council during the trial. The verdict was vacated and a re-trial scheduled. Prosecutors appealed that decision and, in January 2019, the Kansas Court of Appeals upheld the lower courts ruling.