Friend testifies victim 'was afraid' of estranged husband accused of killing her
Gilbert Robinson told his wife's friend that she had fallen down the stairs, court hears
Denise Snowden was concerned for Gina Robinson's safety on the night of April 21, 2014, because she had not contacted her as planned.
On Thursday, Snowden was called by the Crown to testify about what occurred the night Gina Robinson was found badly injured in her estranged husband's home.
Gilbert Robinson is charged with second-degree murder in Gina's death. He allegedly beat her in his Castle Downs home. The 54-year-old mother of two died two days later from blunt-force trauma. Gilbert has pleaded not guilty.
According to Snowden's testimony, Gina was supposed to call around 9 p.m. to confirm that she returned safely from her meeting with Gilbert. The long-time friends used this safety plan whenever Gina met with her husband.
"She was afraid of Gilbert Robinson," said Snowden, who added that the accused was "angry" about the divorce.
When Gina failed to return her text messages and phone calls, Snowden and her adult son, Kyle, went to the house to check up on her.
'I was scared at that point'
Snowden testified that Gina's car was parked in the driveway of the home, as well as Gilbert's truck. The house lights were on, but the curtains were drawn.
The jury heard that Snowden called the victim's son, Paul Robinson, to ask him to call the house and check up on his mother. Paul Robinson's calls went unanswered.
Snowden also testified that her son walked up and down a pathway that borders the property, but could not see or hear anything from inside the house.
According to Snowden's testimony, she decided to knock at the door of the Robinson residence. Concerned for their safety, Kyle and Denise Snowden first went to a nearby friend's home to let them know of the situation.
"I was scared at that point," said Snowden. "I was very concerned for Gina."
Snowden said she knocked at the door and rang the doorbell while Kyle hung back. Gilbert answered, opening the door a crack.
When Snowden asked about her friend, Gilbert allegedly replied that he thought she had left.
According to Snowden, Gilbert then opened the door wider, gestured to the basement stairs, and said that Gina had fallen down the stairs.
"He was very nonchalant about it," testified Snowden, who said the accused was shirtless at the time, only wearing long underwear, which was unusual.
An emotional Snowden told the packed courtroom that she saw Gina's body crumpled in the basement, in a pool of blood, with her head at an unnatural angle. "She looked like a rag doll, she was limp."
Snowden said she yelled at her son to call 911, which he did.
A recording of the 911 call was played in court. Snowden cried while listening, as did many of those present in the courtroom.
Gilbert was calm, alternating between looking down and looking at the witness stand, while the 11-minute recording played.
In the call, Snowden is heard telling her friend "You're OK," while listening to the dispatcher's instructions.
Court heard how Snowden tried to ease Gina's laborious breathing by laying her flat on her back and tilting her head back, until paramedics arrived.
Snowden also described the victim's injuries.
She said Gina's hair was covered in blood, that she had dried blood around her nose and mouth, and had two black eyes.
The jury also heard that the Robinsons' divorce proceedings were acrimonious. Snowden said Gilbert did not want to pay his wife and was not following court orders regarding spousal support payments.
Gilbert's defence lawyer, Peter Royal, briefly cross-examined Snowden.
Kyle Snowden was also called to testify by the Crown.
The Crown says it plans to call up to 65 witnesses over the course of the three-week trial.