Psychiatrist: Possible Maurice Robinson may have exaggerated some mental disorders

Published 2:40 pm Thursday, February 25, 2016

By Shavonne Walker

A psychiatrist testified in court Thursday that he believed Maurice Robinson, who is on trial for murder, may have exaggerated some of his mental disorders and likely inflated them at times and downplayed them at other times.

Robinson, 37, is facing prison time, if convicted, for his involvement in the 2012 robbery and murder of Z&H Mart store owner Hecham Abualeinan.

Authorities said Robinson planned the robbery and subsequent murder and manipulated Christopher Watson and his cousin, Kevin Canzator, into carrying out his plan.

Watson, 26, testified last week he owed Robinson money for crack cocaine Robinson gave him without charging. Watson admitted to the court he wore a Halloween mask and walked into the store, robbed it and shot Abualeinan once.

Watson also said he would have never committed the crimes if it weren’t for Robinson.

Watson pleaded guilty in 2015 to first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon. He is serving life in prison without parole. As part of his plea, Watson agreed to testify against his former friend.

Canzator, 23, whom authorities have said is distantly related to Robinson by marriage, did what Robinson told him. The prosecutors say the three had a role in robbing Neighborhood Market on West Horah Street prior to the Dec. 10 Z&H Mart robbery.

Watson would go into the stores with a handgun, which was given to him by Robinson, wearing a Halloween mask and demanding money.

Robinson and Canzator would “case” the store before the robberies to determine how many people were inside. In one robbery, Canzator pretended to be a customer so that Watson could walk in behind him and proceed into the store.

Much of testimony from the past two days centered on whether Robinson had the intellectual ability to plan the crimes.

During two days of testimony, psychologist Ginger Calloway testified that Robinson had a number of mental and behavioral disorders including intellectual disability, formally called mental retardation, as well as schizophrenia, personality disorder, impulse control disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and alcohol and marijuana dependency.

She went on to say these disorders would have affected Robinson’s ability to plan the crimes.

Within in a few minutes on the stand Thursday, psychiatrist George Corvin confirmed he did not believe Robinson was schizophrenic or bipolar.

He evaluated Robinson in October 2014 and again in January 2015. The doctor said he not only relies on Robinson’s assessments from other mental health facilities, but he would also gauge Robinson’s facial expressions, posture and what he said during an evaluation.

Corvin called Robinson a “disturbed individual,” and said he may have exaggerated some symptoms.

“He would try to manipulate people around him in childlike ways, dangerous ways, to get what he wants,” Corvin said.

Court testimony revealed Robinson made a phone call from the Rowan County jail where he told another inmate’s mother how he could teach him to lie about his mental health.

Corvin said a person who was not intellectually disabled would know jail phone calls are recorded.