Original Story – 10:30 A.M. – A former Prichard police officer was the first to testify in day 2 of Hiawatha Robinson’s murder trial. He is accused of sodomy and the murder of his 8-year-old daughter, Hiawayi Robinson. She disappeared on September 16, 2014. The police officer, who now works for the Atmore Police Department, was the first officer to arrive at the apartment complex in Prichard. The officer testified he was familiar with the St. Stephens Woods apartment complex. He said he had responded to police calls in the past to this area.
The officer testified Thursday morning and was asked specifically about Hiawatha Robinson’s demeanor that night family members could not find Hiawayi. The officer testified that Robinson was upset and agitated over his missing daughter. The police officer stated Hiawatha yelled at Hiawayi’s mother, Yosha Populus and her mother, Brenda, for allowing Hiawayi to roam the apartment complex by herself.
Investigators pieced together a timeline of Hiawayi Robinson’s actions the day she disappeared. She arrived home from the school bus stop with her cousin, who also lived in the apartment complex. It was raining. Her grandmother told police that Hiawatha called and spoke to Hiawayi over the phone. They discussed money to buy a new tablet for her birthday. Her grandmother told police that she thought Hiawayi left the apartment to go to her cousin’s apartment to meet her father.
Surveillance video pulled from a nearby convenience store shows Hiawayi Robinson walking into the store just after 4:00 p.m. on September 16. She was inside the store for around six minutes and then left. Information on day 1 of the trial revealed surveillance video also showed a reddish Chevy Tahoe, which is similar to the one Hiawatha was driving that day.
Hiwayai Robinson never returned home to her apartment. Her grandmother called Prichard Police and Hiawayi’s mother, Yosha Populus, that night and neighbors started searching the apartment complex. The community of Prichard started searching extensively the next morning. A Prichard City worker discovered Hiaway’s body in an abandoned lot off Rebel Road on September 18. Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Wright told jurors on day 1 of the trial that Hiawatha Robinson had a connection to this property off Rebel Road. He once worked at the body shop, which is now abandoned. His friend owns the property.
WKRG News 5 will continue to provide updates on Day 2 of this high-profile trial. News 5’s Alison Spann is inside the courtroom listening to testimony. Check back for updates here, on WKRG’s facebook fan page, and on our daily newscasts.
Update at 1:15 P.M. – More information revealed during testimony involving security camera footage. The video evidence was taken from a security camera system at Hiawatha’s girlfriend’s house in Semmes. The video shows Hiawatha left the house on September 16, 2014 at 3:20 p.m. in a maroon Chevy Tahoe. The video shows Hiawatha returned to the house at 7:01 P.M in the same vehicle. He took two articles of clothing out of the SUV. Cameras show he went straight to the laundry room. The video shows he made several trips to the SUV after he arrived back at the house.
Defense attorney Jeff Deen says the prosecutor is spinning a “sad story”. He says the real issue is that someone was abusing Hiawayi Robinson but it was not Hiawatha.
Hiawayi’s mother, Yosha Populus, her grandmother, and her sister testified that Hiawatha seldom saw his daughter. They say the two were never alone together. Prosecutors revealed that was not the case. Hiawatha apparently picked up Hiaway on Friday, September 12, which was four days before she disappeared. He picked her up as she walked home from the bus stop, took her to get candy, and then dropped her back off at the apartment. Her mother was not aware of the situation until Hiawayi returned home.