Review of what we know so far about the alleged “cart killer”

Ten days before Christmas, the police made a surprising and macabre discovery in a vacant wooded lot across from the Moon Inn on N. Kings Highway in the Alexandria portion of Fairfax County. In a black plastic container next to a Target shopping cart in the 2400 block of Fairhaven Lane were the remains of two murdered women. One of the victims was likely a DC resident Cheyenne Brown, confirmed the police, who had been reported missing at the end of September. The other victim in the trash can was later identified as Stephanie Harrison.

On December 17, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis told the world they had a serial killer on their hands, while giving him a nickname.

“Our serial killer is called the ‘basket killer,'” Davis said from a podium at the press conference. “He is called [that] because he meets his victims… on dating sites. He meets his victims, then, in hotels. After inflicting trauma on his victims and killing them, he transports their bodies to their final resting place in a shopping cart.

In reviewing past and recent homicides in the area, it became clear to police that a man was likely responsible for murder of at least five women which had been found in DC, Alexandria and Harrisonburg, Virginia over the course of several weeks.

Chronology

On November 24, the police discovered the bodies of two missing women — Allene Elizabeth “Beth” Redmon and Tonita Lorice Smith — in a dumpster hidden in a vacant lot. Police also obtained video showing a man moving the bodies from place to place in a shopping cart.

Shortly after this discovery, police arrested DC resident Anthony Robinson for the murders of these two women. Less than a month later, authorities found the bodies of Harrison and Brown in Alexandria in a vacant lot with a shopping cart nearby.

In January, officials announced they had connected the dots. They believe that Robinson was also responsible for the murder of Sonya Championwho was found in a shopping cart near Union Station in DC in September.

Police say “digital evidence,” such as in cellphone records and online messages, puts Robinson in close proximity to all five murders. Authorities believe he met the women through online dating sites, lured them to motels and murdered them with blunt force trauma. He then allegedly put them in shopping carts, transported them to vacant lots and, often, threw them into large trash cans.

He stays worry that these five women were not the only victims.

Two weeks ago, Robinson’s lawyers filed a lawsuit asking a Virginia judge to issue a gag order to stop police using the nickname “cart killer” or discussing further details of the cases. Lawyers fear this could prevent Robinson from having a fair trial.

In a statement to local radio WTOPa Fairfax County police spokesperson said the county “stands with its criminal investigation.” Currently, Robinson is awaiting judgment at Rockingham-Harrisonburg Regional Jail in Harrisonburg. His next court appearance is currently scheduled for May 9.



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Peggy P. Gilmore