Man accused of “terrorizing downtown” with violent attacks on women, murder

Tony Robinson | CPD

A homeless man spent nine days “terrorizing downtown” with a series of violent attacks on women that culminated with the stabbing death of a Maryland woman last weekend, prosecutors said

Tony L. Robinson, 41, was ordered held without bail by Judge Charles Beach after prosecutors laid out allegations to support charges of first-degree murder, robbery, and multiple counts of aggravated battery on Saturday afternoon.

Beach, reflecting on Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy’s assertion that Robinson was “terrorizing” the area, said, “I don’t think that’s an unfair statement in any way, shape, or form.”

“Frankly, it is an act of terrorism on the community,” Beach said, calling the allegations an “ongoing nine-day terrorization of individuals who are visiting our city, or working around the Loop area, or living in the Loop area.”

Police arrested Robinson Thursday afternoon on the 300 block of South Lower Wacker Drive, where he lived in a tent, according to Murphy and police records. Officers who executed a search warrant on the tent recovered a sock filled with rocks, two knives, and other items, Murphy said.

Anat Kimchi, a 31-year-old criminal justice doctoral candidate from Maryland, was walking on the 400 block of South Wacker when Robinson grabbed her from behind and overhand stabbed her in the neck and upper back with a knife, Murphy said.

A witness who saw the attack from a nearby park thought Robinson was trying to rob Kimchi, but Robinson only got away with her sweater, Murphy continued. The witness briefly confronted Robinson but backed off when Robinson threatened him, Murphy said. The witness then went to Kimchi’s side and held her until paramedics arrived.

DNA material from a shirt the attacker discarded near the murder scene matches Robinson, Murphy said. Surveillance video allegedly shows Robinson running with a knife in his hand after the murder and throwing an object into the Chicago River. Detectives suspect the discarded object is the knife he used to kill Kimchi, Murphy said.

Robinson is also charged with violently beating a 50-year-old tourist near her Loop hotel as she walked to get coffee. The woman, who was visiting from St. Louis for a baseball game, told police that a man confronted her as she walked on the first block of East Ida B. Wells and asked if she was following him around 7:14 a.m. on June 13.

The woman said, “no,” and tried to keep walking, but the man struck her in the head with a hard object. She told police it felt like she had been struck with a concrete block, Murphy said. The attacker took the woman’s phone and money, which she dropped, and then struck her two more times with the object, breaking her nose, and inflicting injuries that required nine stitches to close her forehead and three staples to mend the back of her head, according to Murphy.

Murphy suggested Robinson is also responsible for violently beating a 25-year-old woman with an object on the 500 block of South Franklin around 9:30 p.m. on June 10. CWBChicago previously reported that the woman’s injuries were so severe, fire department personnel thought she’d been shot in the head. According to Murphy, surveillance video shows the attacker following the “exact route” that Robinson allegedly took after killing Kimchi.

While detectives have not identified the object that Robinson allegedly used to beat the two women, Murphy suggested it could be the rock-filled sock that detectives allegedly found in his tent.

The witness to Kimchi’s murder identified Robinson in a line-up, and the robbery victim identified him in a photo array, Murphy said. The June 10 victim was unable to identify him, and Robinson is not charged with that crime.

Robinson has a criminal history in St. Clair County for burglary and other crimes. CWBChicago reported Friday that his Cook County record only includes misdemeanor allegations. He made no statements to police after they took him into custody, according to his defense attorney, who said Robinson lives with family.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com