|“||If your [sic] interested in a MASTER who is really great, write him. He is a great MASTER. His e-mail addy is eruditemaster.email.com...||”|
— Robinson while posing as one of his victims
John Edward Robinson, Sr., a.k.a. "The Slave Master" or "The Internet Slave Master," is a convicted serial killer, abductor, robber, and con artist. He is sometimes called the Internet's first serial killer because he found many of his victims online.
The third of five children, Robinson was born in Cicero, Illinois. His father was an alcoholic and his mother a disciplinarian. By the age of 13, he was an Eagle Scout. At the same age, he also enrolled in a Catholic preparatory seminary, claiming he desired to become a priest but dropped out at the end of his freshman year due to poor grades and disciplinary issues. Instead, he started attending trade school to study radiology. Though he only spent two years there and didn't finish his training, he was still able to get a job as an X-ray technician at a children's hospital in Kansas City, Missouri by forging credentials. Around the same time, aged 21, he got married to a woman named Nancy Jo Lynch, with whom he had a son and fraternal twins. In 1966, after being fired from his job due to his incompetence, Robinson got a similar job at a medical practice from which he stole tens of thousands of dollars. He also had sexual affairs with both staff and patients. In 1969, after being caught, he was sentenced to three years' probation. He violated it in within only a year by returning to Chicago.
Though Robinson was convicted of theft, fraud, and embezzlement several times between 1969 and 1991, he was able to work for charitable organizations and as a civic leader. In 1977, working for a handicapped service organization, he managed to get on its board of directors and created a "Man of the Year" award as his first action and awarded it to himself. When it was covered by the media, several people realized that Robinson had forged their recommendations. The press spent two weeks exposing Robinson as the fraud he was, though only his wife and children seemed to suffer. Robinson is suspected to have committed his first murder in 1984 when he hired 19-year-old Paula Godfrey to work as a sales representative for two shell companies he had made in order to create fake credentials for himself. After Robinson allegedly sent her away for some training, she was never seen again. Her family received a type-written letter with her signature in which she claimed to be okay, but she didn't want to see them. Because she was of legal age and there were no signs of foul play, no investigation was carried out.
Cons and Killings
In 1983, Robinson's crimes escalated. His brother, Don Robinson, and his wife, Helen, had unsuccessfully been trying to conceive and formally adopt a child. Claiming to have connections in the adoption business, Robinson started looking for single pregnant women who could provide a child, presumably to enter the black market adoption business. Because he wasn't able to get any referrals from social services, he went directly to the source and approached 19-year-old Lisa Stasi, the single mother of a four-month-old baby, Tiffany, at a battered women's shelter in January of 1985. Using the name "Josh Osborne", he convinced her that he would take her into a training program in Texas that included daycare and job training. On January 9, he came to the home of Stasi's sister and picked up Tiffany. The next day, Stasi's family got a phone call in which a terrified-sounding Stasi said "they" had deemed her an unfit mother and that her mother, Betty, had said she wanted the baby. The last her family heard from Lisa were the words "here they come" over the phone before it was disconnected. No one saw or had any contact with Lisa after that. Two days later, Robinson handed Tiffany over to his brother along with forged legal documents about the adoption that claimed the child's mother had committed suicide. The same day, Stasi's family filed a missing persons report. Robinson was investigated on suspicion of violating the Mann Act, which originally prohibited white slavery and transportation of women across state lines for "immoral purposes". This was then changed to the word "immoral" was narrowed down to prostitution and other illegal sexual acts, such as sending Stasi and Godfrey over state lines for work. As Robinson's probation was reevaluated, he became a major player in the underground sex industry, involved in S&M-related prostitution.
The FBI sent in a female undercover agent to pose as a potential prostitute for Robinson, but became so concerned that her life was in danger and pulled her out. An important witness in Robinson's trial for violating his probation was a prostitute named Teresa who worked for him and who was also his mistress. Robinson had threatened Teresa by sticking the barrel of a loaded gun into her vagina after she displeased a client. Teresa she was then taken into safe custody and Robinson was unable to face his accuser in court, thereby ending the proceedings in his favor. Not long afterwards, in 1987, he went to prison on a theft conviction and wasn't released until 1993. After his release, Robinson discovered the internet, which gave him access to all kinds of BDSM-related chat rooms and contact pages. Using the nickname "Slavemaster", he used the technology to gain access to many of his victims which lead him to being the first serial killer to use the internet to hunt for victims. In the meantime, his wife supported the family by taking a job as the manager of the trailer park the family had been forced to move into after losing their suburban home. Robinson's first victim during this period was Beverly Bonner, a prison librarian, whom Robinson seduced and convinced to leave her husband. After their divorce, Robinson got her to move to Olathe, promising to give her a job at one of his ventures. She disappeared almost immediately, but not before signing over her alimony checks to Robinson. Robinson continued to cash Bonner's checks, and when questioned by her former husband, told him that she had moved to Australia.
In 1994, he made contact with a woman named Sheila Faith on a social networking site. Faith's daughter, Debbie, was confined to a wheelchair. Promising to give her work and provide medical care for her daughter, Robinson convinced Faith to move to Kansas City, where he killed both mother and daughter and began cashing Faith's pension checks. In 1997, Robinson met Polish immigrant Izabela Lewicka at a BDSM contact site. She then dropped out of community college and moved in with Robinson. She then agreed to become a submissive for him and to become an intern at a non-existent publishing business he told her he ran. She signed a 115-year slave contract which gave Robinson possession of all of her belongings including her bank accounts. In 1999, Robinson killed Lewicka. Robinson's last known victim was Suzette Trouten, another submissive at a BDSM site who worked as a nurse during the day. Robinson convinced her to work for him as a caregiver for his elderly father. After agreeing to the job, Touten moved to Kansas and soon disappeared. To cover it up, Robinson sent her mother several type-written letters, all of which were written using much better spelling than Touten usually used, and were post-marked in Kansas.
Arrest, Trial, and IncarcerationBy 1999, Robinson had become careless about covering his tracks and had attracted the attention of authorities in both Kansas and Missouri as a result of all of the missing person reports that were linked to him somehow. For some weeks after killing Suzette Trouten, he hijacked her email account and kept in touch with some of her online friends to keep up the appearance of her being alive, though the bluff wasn't hard to see through. One of the friends, a woman named Lore, started investigating Robinson, who went by "J.R. Turner" in his communication with them. He also began an online relationship with a laid-off psychiatrist named Vickie, who could very well have become his next victim. By then, the authorities were investigating Robinson. In the spring of 2000, Robinson wired some money to Vickie and arranged a meeting with her in a motel in Overland Park. Staked out in the next room, law enforcement officers heard Robinson force her into rougher sex than Vickie had agreed to (though they weren't aware of how badly she was treated at the time), making him guilty of sexual battery. After he was finished, Robinson left her alone in the room for days. He then sent her back to Texas, keeping the $700 worth of sex toys she had brought with her. Not long afterwards, Robinson repeated the process with Jeanna, an unemployed accountant from Texas, and left her behind as well. Out of fear, she contacted the police.
When Vickie also came forward and the 30-man Robinson task force found out that he had been seducing a woman from Tennessee and had convinced her to come to him and bring her 8-year-old daughter and the deed to her car, they secured an arrest warrant. On June 2, 2000, they raided his mobile home and found five chemical barrels, each of which contained one of Robinson's victims. Though the bodies of Lisa Stasi and Paula Godfrey were never found, the authorities did find evidence linking Robinson to them was as well as proof that he had sold Stasi's daughter to his brother. They also found blood in the apartment Lewicka had stayed in while she was in a slave relationship with Robinson. He was charged with the murders of Trouten, Lewicka, and Stasi, the first two of which would be punishable by death, and the kidnapping of Stasi's baby as well as dozens of fraud and forgery charges. He was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to death as well as life in prison for Stasi's murder. Afterwards, he confessed to his additional five murders. He is currently on death row at the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas waiting for his sentence to be carried out. In 2005, his wife finally filed for divorce. The authorities have tried to get him to reveal the locations of the bodies of Stasi, Clampitt, and Godfrey, but have been unsuccessful.
Robinson killed primarily for financial reasons. Using elaborate ruses such as promising them work at high salaries, he targeted women of different ages; during his post-1993 killings, he used the Internet to do so. After getting them to sign over money or some other assets to him, he would kill them with one or two blows to the head using some sort of blunt weapon, such as a hammer. For the last five victims, he disposed of their bodies by stuffing them into chemical barrels. How he got rid of the first three is unknown since none of their bodies have ever been found.
- Unspecified date: An unnamed family (conned into investing $25,000 into his company)
- Summer 1982: Unnamed male (his mistress's husband; assaulted only)
- September 1984 (disappeared): Paula Godfrey, 19 (her body was never found)
- January 10, 1985:
- Lisa Stasi, 19 (killed for her daughter; her body was never found)
- Tiffany Stasi, 4 months (Lisa's daughter; abducted; was released to Robinson's brother)
- June 15, 1987 (disappeared): Catherine Clampitt, 27 (her body was never found)
- January (disappeared): Beverly Bonner, 49 (killed for her alimony checks)
- Summer: Sheila Faith and her daughter Debbie (both killed for Sheila's disability checks)
- Sheila Faith, 45
- Debbie Faith, 15
- Summer 1999 (disappeared): Izabela Lewicka, 21
- March (disappeared): Suzette Trouten, 27
- Spring: Vickie (last name unspecified; forced into rough sex and robbed, but not killed)
- Unspecified date: Jeanna (last name unspecified; forced into rough sex and robbed, but not killed)
On Criminal Minds
- Season Five
- "The Internet Is Forever" - While Robinson was not directly mentioned or referenced in this episode, he appears to have been an inspiration for the episode's unsub, Robert Johnson - Both are serial killers and abductors who found all of their victims through social media sites, made them disappear without a trace, and were given nicknames with the word "Internet" in it.
- Season Seven