A West Virginia special education teacher who stabbed a classmate to death in 1972 is now facing child abuse charges for allegedly abusing at least two elementary school students.
Per the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Marlene Sexton Robinson, 58, was indicted this week on three felony counts of child abuse for three incidents that occurred at Bluewell Elementary School during the 2017-18 school year. Authorities alleged Robinson had at least two victims who were 5.
Regarding the second incident, West Virginia State Police Trooper A.S. Reed told the local newspaper that surveillance cameras caught Robinson dragging the 5-year-old “a long distance” while he lay on his stomach.
Noting that the dragging transpired for approximately three minutes, Reed said, “The accused then left the child in the cafeteria floor and dropped his book bag on him before leaving the scene.”
Mercer County Sheriff’s Department Detective Steve Sommers said he was informed of the incidents dating back to September 12 later that month. The case he’s investigating involved another 5-year-old who was a student of Robinson’s, according to the newspaper.
Sommers revealed that Robinson was arrested during the summer and charged with felony child abuse but was still teaching in the fall. The special education teacher was free on bond when the second and third incidents occurred, Robinson said.
WOAY reported that Robinson was fired following a Mercer County Board Of Education meeting Thursday where members voted to terminate her. The news station noted that the board unanimously voted to suspend her for three days in June in connection with the May 18 incident. One of the three child abuse indictments stemmed from that incident.
An archived Daily Telegraph stated that a 12-year-old Robinson (then known as Marlene Sexton) was charged with first-degree murder in 1972 for fatally stabbing a classmate in Bramwell.
At the time, a police trooper told the outlet that “only one wound was struck with a razor-sharp pocket knife directly into the child’s heart.” Wanda Harrell, 14, who was black, underwent emergency surgery but died from her injuries two hours after the stabbing.
Robinson ultimately pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in July 1973 and was sentenced to three years’ probation. A subsequent article covering the sentencing said the judge called attention to “apparent racial tensions” and feared that this case would further stoke those hostilities.
[Featured image: Marlene Sexton Robinson/Police handout]