Criminal Minds Wiki

Harvey Miguel Robinson is one of America's youngest serial killers, and Allentown, Pennsylvania's first serial killer.


Robinson grew up in a troubled family. His father Harvey was an alcoholic arrested for manslaughter after beating his mistress to death. While in his school, Robinson was known for being an athletic student and won awards for his essays, but was also arrested several times for burglary and resisting arrest. A drug addict, he showed signs of sociopathy at a young age, as he had an inability to distinguish the difference between right and wrong, detested any form of authority, and enjoyed being feared by others.

Murders, Arrest, and Incarceration[]

On the night of August 5, 1995, Robinson broke into the home of 29-year-old Joan Burghardt with the intention of burglarizing it, but he stole only $50 from her dresser. Four days later, her dead body was found lying on the living room floor after one of her neighbors called the police to complain about Burghardt's stereo being on for three days. An autopsy revealed that Burghardt had been raped and beaten to death. Robinson was only seventeen years old at the time of the murder. A year later, Robinson attacked a young girl named Charlotte Schmoyer when she was delivering papers in the morning. He abducted her, took her to a wooded area, and raped and stabbed her to death, slashing her throat in the process. Days later, Robinson broke into the home of John and Denise Sam-Cali and burglarized it, stealing John's gun collection and drinking their whiskey. Three days later, Robinson broke into the home of another woman with the intention of raping and killing her. However, when he saw the woman sleeping with her boyfriend, he decided to kill her daughter instead. Robinson raped and strangled the child, but she managed to survive. It is believed that Robinson had stalked the mother for several days beforehand, as he did with the other victims.

Eight days later, Robinson returned to the Sam-Cali house in the middle of the night with the intention of killing Denise while John was away. He entered the house via an open window. Denise woke up to the sounds of Robinson's footsteps, saw him, and attempted to escape. As she was running through the front yard, Robinson grabbed and pinned her onto the ground. When she bit his arm, Robinson repeatedly punched her, cut her lip open, raped her, and tried to strangle her to death. Her screams alerted a neighbor, which prompted him to flee from the house. When police arrived, they found a butcher knife wrapped in a napkin lying outside the bathroom door. A month later, Robinson raped and murdered a woman named Jessica Jean Fortney. She was beaten and stabbed to death, and her body was found lying on the living room with blood splattered all over the walls. Four days later, Robinson returned to the Sam-Cali home to finish the job with Denise. He attempted to break into her house to kill her but failed, as the backdoor was equipped with an alarm system. Realizing he would not stop until Denise was finally dead, the police department sent a young police officer named Brian Lewis to stay at the Sam-Cali house in case the killer appeared again.

One night, Robinson, now armed with a gun, returned to the house. Lewis heard his attempts at opening the locked doors and then watched as he broke inside through a window, which was left open on purpose. Lewis then identified himself as a police officer and told him to stop. Instead, Robinson began shooting at Lewis, and he fired back, wounding Robinson. He escaped, and a trail of blood trail was found. Hours later, as police were searching the local hospitals, they were called to one after Robinson showed up to be treated for cuts and a gunshot wound. While trying to escape again, an officer appeared and pointed a gun at him, and Robinson surrendered. With his DNA, eyewitness accounts, and physical evidence against him, Robinson was sentenced to a combined 97 years in prison and three death sentences. His lawyers were able to get two of the three death sentences removed, but one still remains. While in prison, Robinson converted to Islam and is currently waiting on death row. He is also suspected of the attempted murder of Leslie Gerhart, committed five years prior to Burghardt's murder. During the incident, an intruder removed the screen from the bedroom window and entered the house while she was staying over with a friend. The intruder began beating Gerhart with a brick but ran away when her friend started to scream. Both Robinson and Gerhart attended elementary school together, and he is suspected of stalking her via telephone and in person in the weeks prior to the attack.

Modus Operandi[]

Robinson stalked women and murdered them during home invasions when they were alone. He entered their homes through open windows and wore gloves as a forensic countermeasure. When inside, Robinson would rape, beat, and kill them, mostly by stabbing or strangulation. Whenever his victims survived the attack, he would stalk them for days in order to know when it was the best time to strike again.

Known Victims[]

Robinson victims

From left to right: Burghardt, Schmoyer, Cali (survivor)

  • Unspecified dates: Numerous victimless burglaries
  • Unspecified date in 1990: Leslie Gerhart, 13 (possibly; bludgeoned with a brick, but survived)
  • August 9, 1992: Joan Burghardt, 29 (stalked, raped, and bludgeoned at least 37 times)
  • 1993:
    • June 9: Charlotte Schmoyer, 15 (raped, stabbed 22 times, and slashed her throat)
    • June 20: An unnamed mother and her daughter:
      • The unnamed mother (stalked and intended to kill)
      • The unnamed daughter, 5 (raped and strangled; survived)
    • June 28: Denise Sam-Cali (raped, cut her lip open, beaten, and strangled; survived)
    • July 14: Jessica Jean Fortney, 47 (raped, beaten, and stabbed)
    • July 18: Denise Sam-Cali (intended; abandoned the plan due to an alarm system installed in her home)
    • July 31: Officer Brian Lewis (incidental; attempted; shot at, but missed)

On Criminal Minds[]

While Robinson was never directly mentioned or referenced on the show, he appears to have been an inspiration for the following unsubs:

  • Season Six
    • Jeremy Sayer ("Safe Haven") - Both are teenage murderers whose fathers abandoned their families, they showed early signs of psychopathy, had juvenile criminal records before their killings (which included property crimes), primarily targeted women, attacked them by means of stabbing, strangulation, or bludgeoning (though Robinson never killed a victim by bludgeoning), killed most of their victims in their homes and one outdoors, they killed three female victims in total (though most of Sayer's were male), had at least one surviving victim, and were apprehended after stand-offs with law enforcement.
  • Season Eight
    • Mark Jackson ("The Gathering") - Both were serial killers and stalkers who had abusive criminal father figures (Robinson's father abused his wife and later killed his mistress, while Jackson's stepfather abused him), targeted women, attacked them in their homes after stalking them, stabbed them to death, disposed of one victim in a wooded area, asphyxiated at least one victim (though Robinson never succeeded in killing anyone in this manner), and attacked at least one man incidentally while trying to kill a victim (though Jackson did this twice; he assaulted the male and killed the female before killing a brother and sister; Robinson tried to shoot a cop while attempting to attack a victim that survived a previous attack).
  • Season Eleven
    • Matt Franks ("Pariahville") - Both were ephebophilic serial killers and stalkers who were young when they first committed their crimes, targeted women, killed their victims in their homes by stabbing them (though this was only one of Robinson's methods) and stalked their victims to know when it was the best time to kill them in their daily schedules. Interestingly enough, the police officer who Robinson attempted to shoot and kill shares the same surname as Tara Lewis, who killed Franks by shooting him in the neck.