ELKTON — A woman is facing more than 120 years in sentences after a jury found her guilty of 23 charges relating to her puncturing four Cecil County Sheriff’s Office deputies with a hypodermic needle, spitting in the face of another deputy and kicking one of those jabbed deputies during a struggle inside an agency holding cell in April — sending all of them to the hospital.
The guilty verdicts returned against the defendant, Alaina Jean Marie Robbins, 30, on Wednesday also are connected to her pointing a shotgun at motorists on a busy Elkton-area road and brandishing a knife when law enforcement officers tried to arrest her — the incident that put her in custody and led to her thrashing in the holding cell later on April 16.
Robbins and her defense lawyer, Ellis Rollins III, presented a “mistake of fact” defense in which they maintained that Robbins — identified as a rape victim in a 2017 incident — believed that she was fighting for her life while interacting with those deputies because she was having a flashback relating to that sexual assault.
“We cannot judge Ms. Robbins’ actions by our definition of ‘reasonable.’ She had a flashback. She lost it. She freaked,” Rollins told jurors during his closing argument Wednesday. “Nothing made sense anymore and nothing she did made sense anymore.”
Robbins did not believe that the deputies were law enforcement officers; but, instead, she perceived them as civilian men who were going to take her hostage and rape her, according to Rollins.
During his closing and rebuttal arguments, Cecil County State’s Attorney James Dellmyer told jurors that Robbins’ actions were incongruent with someone who purportedly was concerned about an imminent rape, noting, for example, that Robbins — on her own volition — took off all her clothes in the holding cell.
“She’s worried that she was going to be raped, but . . . she strips naked in the cell?” Dellmyer reviewed.
Dellmyer emphasized that the deputies were in uniform; that they showed Robbins their badges every time she asked to see them and that the deputies drove, exited and entered marked CCSO patrol cars — a dozen of them were at the first scene at one point, with flashing emergency lights and blaring sirens.
The deputies also tried to calm down Robbins on a few occasions at CCSO’s headquarters and offered to take her to the hospital.
“It’s incredibly unreasonable that she didn’t intend to commit these crimes,” Dellmyer said, recalling testimony from deputies who told jurors that Robbins repeatedly proffered aloud that she had HIV and Hepatitis C “while swinging the syringe and stabbing them with it.”
Dellmyer stressed that he, his fellow prosecutors and his office staff are sensitive to the fact that Robbins was a victim in a criminal case.
According to court records and Cecil Whig archives, that case referenced by the defense relates to a February 2017 incident in which two men — both of whom were strangers to Robbins — attacked Robbins, after she had accepted a ride at approximately 2 a.m. during a per-chance meeting on a downtown street with one of them.
Robbins also accepted the man’s invitation to party at a residence several miles away, court records and Whig archives show. Robbins was held against her will and was badly beaten at that residence, according to court records.
CCSO investigators charged the two men with first-degree rape, attempted first-degree murder and other offenses.
In December 2017, one of the men received a one-year jail term — specifically a five-year sentence with four years suspended — after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit second-degree assault as part of a binding plea agreement, according to court records.
The other man was sentenced to time served — about two months — in April 2017 after he pleaded “no contest” to second-degree assault, court records show.
On Wednesday, during his closing argument, Dellmyer maintained that Robbins’ “prior victim” status cannot be used to “justify her actions years later.”
“This isn’t a case about what happened to her in her past. This is a case about what she did on April 16,” Dellmyer said.
Dellmyer told jurors that Robbins’ criminal actions on April 16 could be linked, instead, to her “anger” and the fact that she was “under the influence of drugs.” Robbins testified that she was under the influence of heroin during the incident.
“Voluntary intoxication can’t be your excuse for criminal behavior,” Dellmyer told jurors.
Jurors deliberated approximately 30 minutes Wednesday at the conclusion of a two-day-long trial, before finding Robbins guilty of four counts of first-degree assault, which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison, and two counts of second-degree assault, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum 10-year sentence.
The jury also convicted Robbins of resisting arrest, malicious destruction of property, and attempted second-degree escape.
In addition, jurors found Robbins guilty of 13 lesser charges that will merge with more serious convictions at sentencing. Those lesser charges include reckless endangerment and second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer.
Court records indicate that Cecil County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Keith A. Baynes granted judgements of acquittal relating to 11 other charges, in response to a mid-trial motion made by Rollins, who successfully argued that the state had failed to meet its burden of proof.
Sentencing is set for March 26.
The incident leading to Robbins’ arrest occurred at about 3 p.m. April 16 in the 2900 block of Old Elk Neck Road — the same block on which she lives, according to court records.
While walking along that road, Robbins was holding a long gun, which she waved and pointed at vehicles — halting traffic in both directions, prosecutors reported.
Robbins testified that she had found the long gun lying on a couch inside her residence. Believing that someone was trying to shoot her, Robbins grabbed the gun, cleared it of ammunition to be safe, walked out of her residence and then headed down Old Elk Neck Road while holding the weapon, according to her testimony.
Two Cecil County Public Schools buses, carrying secondary school students, were among the vehicles affected by Robbins, armed with a shotgun, in the road, prosecutors said. Robbins did not point the shotgun at the buses, prosecutors added.
Two off-duty CCSO deputies, who had been traveling together in the same patrol vehicle, happened upon the scene and found themselves in the traffic backup, according to court records, which indicate that they jumped into action, identified themselves as police officers, drew their weapons and ordered Robbins to drop her weapon — but she did not comply.
As the deputies continued walking toward Robbins, with their guns still drawn, she got on her knees and then dropped the shotgun, prosecutors said. However, prosecutors added, Robbins then grabbed a folding knife in the open position.
After the deputies gave several orders for Robbins to drop the knife, she obeyed, according to police officials, who further reported that Robbins struggled with the deputies as they arrested her.
The deputies confiscated the knife and shotgun, which was unloaded, and they determined that Robbins had pointed the gun at several motorists, court records show.
Later that afternoon, while deputies were booking Robbins at CCSO headquarters, she remained combative as they placed her in a holding cell — where she then took off her clothes and removed a hypodermic needle that she had hidden, according to court records.
A struggle followed, as deputies tried to take the needle away from Robbins for her protection and for their’s and to calm her down, court records show.
At trial, deputies testified that Robbins urinated in the patrol car after her arrest, while being transported to CCSO headquarters, and that she later did likewise in the agency’s holding cell, where, according to police testimony, she also defecated.
While officers were trying to subdue Robbins in the holding cell, she punctured four deputies with the needle and also kicked one of them and, in addition, Robbins spat in another deputy’s face, according to police testimony.
After subduing Robbins, the deputies went to Union Hospital in Elkton and so did Robbins, police reported.
“It’s protocol whenever deputies come in contact with saliva, blood and other bodily fluids,” Lt. Michael Holmes, a CCSO spokesman, told the Cecil Whig shortly after the incident, explaining why the deputies went to the hospital.