Monday, February 21, 2011

Bloomington, IL: B-N man guilty in roommate's strangulation death

BLOOMINGTON — Xavier Cordova was convicted of involuntary manslaughter Thursday in the September 2009 strangulation death of his roommate Mitchell Robinson.
Cordova and his parents exchanged sad, sympathetic words with the victims’ parents in the hallway after the verdicts that came after four hours of deliberation.
Assistant State’s Attorney Karle Koritz acknowledged the sadness left by the death and the verdict.
“I think justice was done but it doesn’t change the fact that there are two hurting families right now,” said Koritz.

Cordova, 25, testified Thursday that he thought Robinson would give up and go to bed if he tired him out by holding him in a choke hold. Cordova said he knew there was a chance that the maneuver could cause Robinson to pass out.

“I didn’t know how but I knew he might,” said Cordova, during his hourlong testimony as the only defense witness.

Robinson was found unresponsive by another student who attended a party on Sept. 26, 2009, at an apartment at 406 Broadway in Normal. According to forensic pathologist Dr. Scott Denton, the 26-year-old victim died of strangulation likely caused by having his brain deprived of oxygen for several minutes.

Cordova told the jury that he and another person made several unsuccessful attempts to put Robinson to bed after a night of partying and drinking.

He said he held Robinson in the choke hold for about five minutes, an estimate that differed from the 10 to 20 minutes he told police hours after the incident.
Cordova claimed that low blood sugar related to his diabetes affected his memory.

In his closing remarks, defense lawyer Richard Dickinson said questions remain as to exactly how Robinson died. Some of Robinson’s 30 head and neck injuries outlined in Denton’s testimony may have been result of wrestling games Robinson engaged in the day before, said Dickinson.
“We know these injuries were sustained — the question is when,” the defense lawyer argued.
Koritz said Cordova’s actions were reckless and unintentional but led to the victim’s death.
“This was no accident,” Koritz told the jury.

Sentencing will be May 6.

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