Mom gets life for putting baby in oven

Terri Robinson (left) has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of her 3-year-old son, Tristan (right). Prosecutors said Terri put Tristan in the oven in March 2011.

By Monica Land

GREENVILLE – A 25-year old woman has been sentenced to life in prison after she admitted she put her son in the oven while he was still alive. Terri Robinson appeared in front of Judge Ashley Hines in Washington County Circuit Court last week where entered a plea of guilty in the murder of her son, 3-year-old Tristan Robinson.

Tristan was found by police at his mother’s apartment on March 2, 2011 after responding to an emergency call.

At the time of the incident, Washington County Coroner Methel Johnson said she was called to the scene at Robinson’s first floor apartment in Greenville about 12:32 a.m., after officers found the toddler’s nude body in the oven.

Although the toddler was pronounced dead when she arrived, Johnson said he actually died a few hours earlier.

“He hadn’t been deceased that long,” Johnson said then. “The actual time of his death was probably around 10 p.m., but I pronounced him after I arrived around 1:02 a.m.”

Authorities said Tristan’s body was still warm when he was removed from the oven and that he had severe burns on his body. Johnson also said he sustained some trauma to his head.

Initially, Johnson said she’d hope Tristan died from head injuries prior to being placed in the oven. Autopsy results a few days later, however, proved otherwise.

“His cause of death was thermal injury as the result of the heat from the stove,” an emotional Johnson said. “We can not relate if he was conscience or unconscious at the time or not. But the head injury may have indirectly or directly come from him rolling over in the oven.”

Robinson was charged with murder and her bond was set at $5 million by Greenville city judge Michael Prewitt.

At the time of the investigation, Robinson’s twin sister, Sherrie, said her sister was “a great parent” and a “good person,” and that family members didn’t know “what went wrong or what happened.”

“Do not sit there and call her a bad mom ‘cause that’s not what she is,” Sherrie Robinson told WXVT.”

Another child, a little girl, found at the residence was removed from the home by the Department of Human Services during the investigation.

Johnson said during her many years as coroner, Tristan’s case was particularly disturbing.

“This is a really sad moment for me. I’ve seen a lot of things, but this is one that will stick in my memory for a long, long time,” Johnson said then.

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