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State court makes final ruling in Marshall man's death sentence appeal

By Robin Y. Richardson
Nov. 10, 2016 at 2:03 p.m.
Updated Nov. 10, 2016 at 2:03 p.m.

Cortne' Robinson

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal court, denied, on Wednesday, Marshall native and death row inmate Cortne Robinson's application for writ of habeas corpus, which he filed to determine if his detention and death sentence is unlawful.

Robinson was convicted in March 2011 for fatally shooting 82-year-old Frank Zabokrtsky during a September 2009 home invasion in which the victim's wife was kidnapped and sexually assaulted. Robinson was 18 years old, at the time, and the first of three co-defendants to stand trial in the case.

Robinson, the person responsible for pulling the trigger and even made a rap song about it, was sentenced to death for his actions. He filed an appeal following his conviction; however, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied his appeal in June 2013, and affirmed his conviction and sentence of death.

“As the Court of Criminal Appeals had previously affirmed his conviction and sentence on direct appeal, this now concludes Mr. Robinson's state appellate review of his death penalty,” Rick Hagan, special lead prosecutor in the case for the state, explained Thursday.

With the state's final ruling, Robinson can now seek federal review of his sentence in the United States court system.

“Speaking on behalf of the State of Texas in this matter, I am confident that the federal judicial review process will reach the same conclusion as our state courts have and affirm the judgment and death sentence in this case,” said Hagan.

Robinson's co-defendant Bradney Smith, who was found guilty of capital murder in November 2012, is serving an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole; the other co-defendant, Travion Young, who pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of murder, was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

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