U.S. Attorney announces heroin-related guilty plea

By Ann Maher | May 29, 2013


The U.S. Attorney's office announced a heroin-related guilty plea by a Fairview Heights man accused of selling a fatal dose of the drug.

Joseph L. Robinson pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis to selling the heroin which caused the death of Donnie T. Bauman of Fairview Heights on Dec. 21, 2010.

“This successful prosecution is yet another step in our anti-heroin initiative," U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton said in a press release.

"Our anti-heroin effort is designed to slow down and reverse the epidemic of heroin overdose deaths among young people in the Southern District of Illinois. As I have said to nearly 10,000 students, the penalties for drug dealers who choose to prey on young heroin users are very severe, and rightly so.

Robinson, 30, will be sentenced in federal court in East St. Louis on Sept. 16. He has been confined since his arraignment on the federal charge on Nov. 10, 2011. Robinson faces a sentence of not less than 20 years and not more than life imprisonment.

Bauman was 22 years old when he died at his residence in Fairview Heights on Dec. 21, 2010, the release states.

According to documents filed with the District Court at Robinson’s change of plea hearing, Robinson sold Bauman two “buttons” of heroin (approximately one fifth of a gram) for $20 in cash about seven hours before family members discovered Bauman’s body, the press release states.

Next to Bauman’s body, police found a syringe, which Robinson admitted he had provided to Bauman.

Robinson's guilty plea comes in the wake of several drug-related arrests late last week, including that of a now former St. Clair County circuit judge and a St. Clair County probation officer.

Circuit Judge Michael Cook was arrested May 22 and charged May 24  with heroin possession and being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of firearms. He has entered a not guilty plea to both charges. He also has stepped down from the bench.

Probation officer James Fogarty of Belleville is accused of providing cocaine to Cook and the late Associate Judge Joseph Christ, who died of cocaine intoxification on March 10. He has pleaded not guilty.

A third individual charged last week, Sean D. McGilvery of Belleville, is accused of possessing and distributing large quantities of heroin – exceeding one kilogram — in an operation where resources were pooled and drugs were run from Chicago. Cook was arrested at McGilvery's house.

The investigation which resulted in Robinson’s conviction was conducted by the Fairview Heights Police Department, Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois (MEGSI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The case is assigned to AUSA Robert L. Garrison for prosecution.

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