Jailhouse Informant Completes Testimony During Graham Trial
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South Florida Crime
MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Jailhouse informant Robin Lunceford tearfully replied to the questions posed by a state prosecutor Thursday as she described how difficult her life behind bars became ever since she turned into a key informant in the state’s case against accused child killer Geralyn Graham.
“I was tired. I wanted to be left alone,” Lunceford said in between tears. “I wanted to do the right thing and leave me alone and it never stopped.”
Lunceford said she suffered abuse at the hands of fellow inmates for snitching and included incidents in which they spit in her food. At other times, corrections officers would send her to solitary confinement.
Following an intense two days of cross-examination, Lunceford was characterized by defense attorneys as a professional snitch who traded her testimony against Geralyn Graham who faces a first-degree murder in the death of foster child Rilya Wilson in exchange for a reduction to her life sentence.
Lunceford took the stand most of the day Thursday as state prosecutors tried to portray her as a credible witness who was detained with Graham. Lunceford is the state’s key witness who in earlier testimony said Graham, 66, confessed to her about killing Rilya Wilson.
Rilya Wilson was 4 when she went missing and her body has never been found.
But Thursday’s testimony got off to a late start after a Florida Department of Corrections driver got lost taking Lunceford to the courthouse. Testimony was expected to begin at 9:15 a.m., but resumed more than an hour later.
Lunceford was driven from a Central Florida prison and a corrections official told Judge Marisa Tinkler-Mendez that the driver was unfamiliar with South Florida roads causing the driver to get lost. However, there were no reports of a security breach. Judge Marisa Tinkler-Mendez admonished the official.
Lunceford has testified that Graham told her that she smothered the 4-year-old girl with a pillow because Rilya was evil and mentally troubled. She also said Graham confessed to her that she disposed of the body near water.
Lunceford who has given detailed testimony about the Graham’s conversations with her, had lapses in her memory and at one point, conflict with what she recalled in court Wednesday and what she said in a CBS4 News interview in May of 2005.
“Did you ever tell anyone Ms. Lunceford that my client said she buried it close to water because it would cleanse the soul.” Matters asked.
First, Lunceford responded no and then added, “I don’t know if I said that or not. I can’t remember.”
In a telephone jailhouse interview with CBS4 News in May of 2005, Lunceford said Graham had told her that she had buried the child near a lake so that it would “cleanse her soul.”
Jurors also heard a redacted portion of that interview Thursday afternoon.
Lunceford who has been convicted of multiple armed robberies has traded her testimony for a lighter prison sentence from life to 10 years. It’s a fact that defense attorneys argued Wednesday made Lunceford less credible.
In profanity-laced letters to prosecutors, Lunceford threatened to stop cooperating if her prison conditions were not improved.
“F— you. F— you State Attorney’s Office. F— you, Bruce. F— your plea,” Matters said reading back a letter she wrote after agreeing to the plea in March of 2011.
When he asked her if she wrote that letter, Lunceford replied, “Hmmm, that sounds like many that I wrote.”
Lunceford said her motivation for testifying centered on the fact that a child had been murdered, despite the retribution she said she has suffered for being a “snitch.”
“I don’t hide it and I’m not ashamed of it,” Lunceford said. “I’ll stand up loud and produce for Rilya Wilson no matter what I go through.”
Lunceford said she took notes of her 2004 talk with Graham and read back parts of it to the jury which included, “She wants them to find the grave so it can be over. It’s eating her up inside.”
Lunceford is considered one of the prosecution’s key witnesses by defense attorneys claim the 50-year-old career criminal made up the story to get her own habitual offender prison sentence reduced from life to 10 years.
By Thursday afternoon, Lunceford’s testimony ended. State prosecutors called Miami-Dade Corrections officer Chandra Christian who testified that both Lunceford and Graham had gone to court together in mid-August 2004 when the alleged confession occurred.
Graham faces life in prison if convicted of killing Rilya.