John Edward Robinson grew up in a middle class All-American Illinois family; he was born smack dab in the middle of 5 kids, and maintained a close relationship with his 4 siblings. John attended a private Catholic school in which he’d studied to become a priest; by the age of 14 he was an Eagle Scout, and on a trip with the scouts John even met Judy Garland and performed for the Queen of England. It sounds like an idealistic upbringing, but it was not perfect; it has been reported that John’s father was a drinker and his mother was a bit domineering. Again, his childhood wasn’t perfect but whose is? Still, you’d be hard pressed to find some terrible event which may have flipped a switch.
The scamming, conning, and thieving was always a part of who the man was, John had been doing it as far back as anyone could remember; he was arrested countless times for fraud, forging documents, embezzlement, theft, you name it. Eventually John began to open different companies and involved with various shady charitable organization which helped him appear more authentic. Many of the crimes which John got away with for so long would’ve been impossible had it not been for these companies
Despite his incessant need to commit white collar crimes, John cared very much what his community though of him; he made sure they loved him. The killer taught Sunday School at his local Presbyterian Church, he became a ball coach, a scoutmaster, just whatever he could do to earn brownie points! Then, in order to better con people, John actually nominated himself Man Of The Year! He forged a ton of documents and letters from important people and viola, John won; the Man of The Year award was presented by a well known politician and everything, it seemed to be a pretty big deal.
When John wasn’t killing or conning, he was busy with his wife and their 4 children; the family lived in a beautiful neighborhood. John’s wife, Nancy Jo, knew her husband had been unfaithful; she had been aware of one victim but had been under the impression that her husband was having affairs. When women began turning up missing in the 80’s, several of them could easily be linked back to John. The victims were mostly troubled youth, women who John had claimed to have been trying to help; police never had any proof that John had hurt these women, and one by one the cases went cold.
In January of 1985 Lisa Stasi was just 19 years old living in a battered women’s shelter with her 4 month old daughter, Tiffany Lynn. Lisa had been truly thrilled when she was accepted into a youth outreach program for troubled young mothers; this program was to include housing and free childcare, which meant that she could devote her time to earning her GED. It was a dream come true for Lisa, the answer to her prayers. A man who had referred to himself as John Osborne had picked Lisa up from her in-laws home; later that same evening a panicked Lisa placed a phone call to her mother in law, Betty Stasi, from a hotel room. John Osborne had told the young mother that Betty had accused her of being unfit, and that Betty was actively trying to have baby Tiffany from her care. John had been trying to force Lisa to sign multiple blank sheets of paper. Betty hadn’t the slightest idea what on Earth Lisa was talking about, she cared for the mother of her granddaughter and had no intentions of doing her dirty. Within moments a hysterical Lisa exclaimed that “they” were coming back into the room, and the telephone line went dead; Lisa’s voice was never heard again after this. The next morning when Betty called the hotel she was informed that Lisa had already checked out. Letters signed by the young woman were soon mailed to her in-laws home; they claimed that Lisa was faring very well, she had met a man, and she was planning a new life with her baby. To those who knew Lisa, this was unbelievable; though the letters had undoubtedly been signed by the teenager, they hadn’t sounded anything like her. A man who identified himself as Father Martin from an outreach program had contacted Lisa’s mother in law, he backed up what the letters said; the young woman had taken off with a man named Bill. When police contacted that outreach program, they denied association with any Father Martin. Police checked to see who had rented the hotel room on the night in which Lisa disappeared, they found it had been John Robinson – not John Osborne, but there was no evidence that any crime had taken place.
There were other cases of missing young women which were similar; several could be traced back to John Robinson or his company. Many of the young women had accepted a job offer as a secretary or had been hired to care for John’s elderly father; from there each had dropped off the face of the earth. The only contact they ever had with the world again would be these letters, and the signatures were definitely real. Some of these women were never even reported missing, their families had truly believed that they were somewhere in Europe making big bucks and living a fabulous new life. If the family had suspected something, John would say the woman ran off with a man – usually this man was named Bill. There was no proof that anything sinister had happened, and it’s not illegal for an adult to disappear if that’s their prerogative.
As soon as the internet came along, John quickly hopped on and joined the BDSM community. This made our killer’s life so much simpler; gone were the days of scouring the wanted/personal ads or calling outreach programs and hospitals to find troubled young women – now they were waiting right there on John’s computer! He chose the screen name of “Slavemaster” and John would troll for victims. He targeted those who were receiving benefits such as monthly disability, pension, welfare, alimony checks; John would promise the girl wealth if she agreed to come work for him as a sex slave while traveling. It really is a wonder how many women were willing to go along with this, they didn’t know him from Adam! John would fly his victim to Kansas, and using an assumed identity, he would use his company charge card to either put the woman up in a hotel room or she’d be taken to one of the multiple apartments he had rented. John would then convince these women to sign multiple blank stationary papers; he insisted that they wouldn’t have time to write these letters while traveling throughout countries such as China so it was just good common sense to do it now. After he had those signatures, John would rape his victim, he would often beat her to death often with a hammer, and place her remains in an 88 gallon hazmat barrel. These barrels were then stored either on a farm or one of John’s 2 storage units. Our killer made sure to have access to his victim’s monthly checks, which were promptly cashed. This, coupled with the letters sent to the victim’s families, proved to investigators that there had been no crime; the women were alive and well, but did not wish to be found.
In 1993 a 49 year old Beverly Bonner became one of John’s victims. Beverly had been a prison librarian who John had met and seduced while incarcerated. After he found out that Beverly received $1,000.00 in monthly alimony checks, he murdered her and continued to collect her checks for years. In 1994 John raped and murdered Sheila Faith and her disabled 15 year old daughter, Debbie Faith. Young Debbie had been born with Spina bifida, the girl was in a wheelchair; John pocketed their monthly checks. Finally, in 2000, he killed 28 year old Suzette Trouten; this is the one which lead to his downfall. John had targeted Suzette through the online bdsm community; Suzette had excitedly explained to her mama that she was going to work as a nurse’s aid for a big time CEO named John Robinson who needed help with his elderly father. Understandably she left out the part where she was going to be a sex slave. But Suzette was different from the other victims, she was super duper close to her mama, Carolyn. When mama didn’t hear from Suzette, she began to call John Robinson. To pester him. John gave his usual spiel about how the woman had run off with some man, but Carolyn was having none of it! There was no way Suzette would go more than a day or two without contacting her mama! When the letters came, Carolyn took one glance at them and handed them over to the police. She instinctively knew that something terrible had happened to Suzette, and there was no chance that she was going to quietly go away!
Investigators put John on surveillance; they followed him around town, rented hotel rooms right next to the ones John had rented. Eventually a couple of women came forward to file complaints for battery, sexual assault, and theft; on June 2nd of 2000, police finally had a good reason to arrest John and search his properties.
In one storage unit in Raymore, Missouri, investigators found some personal items which had belonged to numerous victims: birth certificates, social security cards, credit cards, driver’s licenses. There were also pornographic pictures and videos of some of the victims. In another large storage they discovered 3 bodies in barrels; on a secluded ranch in La Cygne, Kansas, they found a couple more. Since some of these victims had not been reported missing, 3 of these women were initially labeled as Jane Doe.
One of the most interesting aspects of this case was finding out what exactly had happened to victim Lisa’s infant daughter, Tiffany Lynn. Lisa had been targeted because of her baby; John had been contacting charities, hospitals, outreach programs and anyone else he could think of to ask for the names of troubled young mothers. Come to find out, John’s older brother and sister in law, Don and Helen Robinson from Hammond, Indiana, were barren! John had lured Lisa to her death, forged birth and adoption certificates from all of the right officials, he had really made it look legit. For all of this, John charged his brother an adoption fee of $5,500.00. The new parents had been told that the baby’s mother had committed suicide, leaving an infant in need of a home; Don and Helen never had any clue that the adoption wasn’t legit, you could consider them victims as well. Tiffany was quickly renamed Heather Robinson, and she was raised as John’s niece until the proverbial shit hit the fan more than 15 years later. Thankfully the home had been a good one; the Robinsons had truly loved Heather, they’d worked hard to give her a good life. After Heather discovered her true identity, she absolutely refused to leave the Robinson family. Though she did make contact with her biological father, Carl, Heather decided to stay with the parents she had known and loved. The poor girl has really had a horrific time with it all; it’s so difficult being a teenager in the first place, imagine going through this! Bless her heart!
In October of 2002 John was tried for the 3 known Kansas murders: 19 year old Lisa Stasi who was killed in 1985, 21 year old Polish immigrant Izabela Lewicka was murdered in 1995, and 28 year old Suzette Trouten who’d lost her life in 2000. John was found guilty in January of the following year and sentenced to death. Missouri then prosecuted John for the several murders he’d committed in their state. This time the serial killer beat the death penalty by pleading guilty; he was sentenced to life.
In her early 20’s Heather sued her mother’s killer, the man she had referred to as “Uncle”, for 5 Billion dollars. Though Heather will likely never see most of that money, it does ensure that John will never profit from his murders; the killer will never receive monetary gain from any books, tv/movie deals, artwork, or anything else. Lisa’s corpse has yet to be found, and Heather has a desperate need to find her mother, to connect with her.
We know that John murdered at least 8 people. Considering the rather lengthy time lapses John had between kills, and the fact that Lisa, Paula, and Katherine’s remains have yet to be found, you have gotta wonder how many more victims are there? When will another dumping ground be discovered?
If you’re interested in hearing more, this is a great link:
Heather’s Facebook page in which she has dedicated to her mama. If you stop by, please be kind. She’s been through a lot and people are cruel. https://www.facebook.com/TheLisaStasiEffect/
*Thank you to the reader who caught my mistake, it is spina bifida. I’m sorry.