Netflix’s ‘Trial 4’ examines the murder of Boston Police Detective John Mulligan and the case of Sean K. Ellis, the one wrongfully accused and convicted of the crime. This eight-part true-crime documentary series does so by highlighting not just racial injustice but also the rampant culture of corruption in the police force. After all, the cops who handled Sean’s case, along with the victim himself, were all in cahoots, doing dirty work.
So, of course, the detectives needed a scapegoat before their fellow investigators got the chance to dig really deep and find the truth about their illegal activities. Among those who have been accused of derailing the initial murder case is Walter Robinson, and here’s all that we know about him.
Who Is Walter Robinson?
Walter Robinson of Belgrade, Maine, joined the Boston Police Department back in 1970, becoming a detective just four years later. Over the ensuing years, he, as a drug cop, became involved in several high-profile cases, which included some violent confrontations with suspects and convicted felons alike. However, on the side of his actual work, Detective Walter, along with his partner Detective Kenneth Acerra, took part in misappropriating cash and narcotics that they seized while executing falsified warrants.
Therefore, when Detective John Mulligan, another alleged dirty cop like him, was killed while on duty, Walter made sure to be on his murder case. Apparently, he immediately tampered with evidence revolving around John’s phones, assets, and the amount of cash he had. In the investigations that followed, both Walter and Kenneth were present whenever a witness was giving a statement, as if to see if they could maybe identify or be influenced into identifying the suspects as Sean Ellis or Terry L. Patterson, the two men they had already arrested.
In 1995, following Terry’s conviction and Sean’s first trial, Walter told his superiors that he was no longer fit to work because of severe emotional distress. He was then diagnosed with PTSD, and a medical examiner ruled him to be permanently disabled. But still, when The Boston Globe articles on police corruption came out, and a probe into detectives began, Walter wasn’t given any special treatment. Thus, in 1997, a federal grand jury handed him a 27-count indictment that included extortion and conspiracy.
Where Is Walter Robinson Now?
Walter Robinson resigned from the Boston Police Department around that same time, and in 1998, he pleaded guilty to reduced federal charges. As part of the agreement, he admitted to embezzlement and fraud, one count each of civil rights violations, extortion, and tax violations, along with lying on federal tax forms, falsifying search warrants, and bribery. Subsequently, a district court judge sentenced him to serve thirty-six months behind bars, fined him $7,500, and ordered him to pay restitution amounting to $100,000, which would be distributed amongst his several victims and the police department.
Along with that, Walter got three years of probation and was also stripped of all his achievements within the police force as he had dishonored his badge with his crimes. In 2005, following Walter Robinson’s release from federal prison, he filed a report to receive accidental disability retirement benefits, the initial application for which he had submitted years before his arrest – when he was first diagnosed with PTSD. But when his request was denied, he took the matter to court, where a judge dismissed it, calling the case “moot.”
It was stated that Walter had previously been given several opportunities, including at least two evidentiary hearings, to present any evidence he deemed relevant to be eligible for such benefits, which he did not do. Therefore, he can’t collect it. As for what former Detective Walter Robinson is up to now, it seems like he now prefers to live a life away from the spotlight.
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