NEWS- Repeat offender: Greenleaf attacker gets 4 1/2 years
Serial groper Robert Terrell Haskins has finally been hit with a felony conviction, and prosecutors are welcoming the more-than-four-years sentence for an assault and break-in.
Haskins has a history of assaulting women. He achieved local notoriety when he was convicted for the infamous December 30, 2002, assault of a young mother who was in Greenleaf Park with her baby– an attack that came at the height of fears over the still-unsolved serial rapist case.
Haskins was sentenced the following March to six months for knocking the woman down in broad daylight after a substitute judge found him guilty of misdemeanor sexual battery rather than felony attempted rape, a decision that angered local law enforcement.
"He is an obvious threat to women in this community," said Charlottesville police captain Chip Harding following the 2003 sentencing.
Haskins was barely out of jail when he chased a female jogger down Locust Avenue. That October 9, 2003, incident earned him a 30-day suspended sentence for obstruction of justice.
Next, he grabbed the buttocks of a juvenile jogger on Locust Avenue on February 18, 2004, and was sentenced to two months in jail for misdemeanor sexual battery. Police believe he was also the man reported making sexually suggestive remarks to a woman on Jefferson Street around that time.
The attack that puts him away for the longest stretch yet took place November 26, 2005, a case that originally came to Charlottesville prosecutor Elizabeth Killeen as a computer theft.
Haskins followed a woman to her Little High Street home and asked to use the bathroom. When he started acting strangely, the woman asked him to leave, say police.
Instead, he grabbed her by the belt, kissed her, and put his hand over her mouth, warning her not to scream. The woman was unharmed, but several days later she discovered a purse and laptop missing, and reported the theft.
"From what she described, we knew exactly who it was," says Killeen. The lip-lock victim identified Haskins from a line-up– but did not want to press charges for the stolen kiss. "I prosecuted over her objections," says Killeen.
Haskins, who turned 23 on Halloween, will serve three years on a 20-year suspended sentence for breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony. He received 12 months for assault and battery, and picked up another six months for conspiracy to commit larceny in a plea on county charges, according to court records.
"We were very pleased with the sentence," says Killeen. "It was an upward departure from the guidelines, where the upper end would be two years." And it's unusual, she adds, for a first felony conviction sentence to exceed the guidelines.
"Authorities had been seeking to have Mr. Haskins convicted of a felony for some time," she adds.
Public defender Llezelle Dugger declines to comment about whether police and prosecutors were gunning for Haskins in seeking a sentence that so exceeded guidelines.
"I generally don't comment on my cases," says Dugger, but she adds, "His IQ is retarded. That's the bottom line."
Before his arrests for attacking women, Haskins attended Grafton, a school for students with mental and emotional disorders, and he allegedly told police that when he doesn't take his medication, "I do wild stuff."
"He has very limited intelligence and very limited impulse control," says Killeen.
Haskins was rejected for the inmate workforce program October 10 with the notation, "This individual has very serious emotional problems and is not suited to the program."
Robert Terrell Haskins, arrested for multiple groping incidents since 2003, goes to jail for four and a half years for stealing a computer– and a kiss.
FILE MUGSHOT COURTESY CHARLOTTESVILLE POLICE