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A skilled handyman, he had built a soccer goal in the family’s spacious yard so his son could practice at home. as a successful businessman and entrepreneur, always talking of new ventures.The Ma Barker and Pretty Boy Floyd gangs crisscrossed the state in the 1930s. Still, Kansas retains a know-your-neighbor, help-your-neighbor quality of life that makes it seem different—even from adjacent Missouri—and gives the atrocities of John Robinson a special horror.In choosing not to inform Mobil of Robinson’s background, his probation officer said in a memorandum to the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole that Robinson “does not appear to be an individual who is basically inclined towards criminal activities and is motivated towards achieving middle class values.” Another officer stated on August 13, 1970, that Robinson was “responding extremely well to probation supervision” and she was “encouraging [him] to advance as far as possible with Mobil Oil.”Precisely two weeks later Mobil Oil discovered that Robinson had stolen 6,200 U. The following month, Robinson and his wife moved back to his home city of Chicago, where he got a job with a company called Illinois R. Robinson’s father gave him the money to make restitution, so Illinois authorities dismissed criminal charges.Robinson and his wife moved back to the Kansas City area, where he was arrested for violating the terms of his probation and thrown in jail “to provide a strong motivation for a complete reversal in his behavior,” wrote Gordon Morris, a Missouri probation officer.He stole merchandise and was fired but not prosecuted.In 1969 he went to work as a systems analyst for the Mobil Oil Corporation, which wasn’t aware that he was on probation. He was fired, reported to the police, and charged with theft. Within a month he was stealing again; he embezzled ,500 over six months before he was caught and fired.
It was one of the richest counties in the United States, 480 square miles of sleek suburban affluence—some of the towns had Shawnee names, such as Lenexa (for the wife of an Indian chief), and the county seat, Olathe (“beautiful”).
drove from Troost Avenue back across the state line to his Kansas home, where he arrived in time to attend his teenage son’s regular Saturday soccer game. He was also a founding elder of the nearby Presbyterian Church. And in the mid-80s in Kansas he was becoming something much more sinister—a murderer of women. Unlike Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy, who chose their victims impulsively and killed them with dispatch, Robinson developed relationships with his. I know because I grew up there, as did my parents and grandparents.
He attended his daughter’s flute recitals and band concerts, and refereed school volleyball games. He was a neighborhood activist, an officer of the residents’ association, and chairman of its rules committee. Robinson is rare in the annals of American crime: a genial con man and a homicidal monster all in one. There is the cover-up artist—the lies, endless lies.”The real Kansas belies its image.
When he was 13, in the fall of 1957, he enrolled in the Quigley Preparatory Seminary in the heart of downtown Chicago, a five-year academy for Catholic boys. He also has an engaging smile.” Backstage he met Judy Garland.
That same fall he made the rank of Eagle Scout and flew to London to lead a group of 120 Boy Scouts onto the stage of the Palladium theater to appear in a command performance of a Scout variety show before Queen Elizabeth II. “We Americans gotta stick together,” young Robinson told her.
He was employed as a laboratory technician and office manager by a Kansas City physician, Wallace Graham, who had been President Harry Truman’s personal doctor.