A judge in Pennsylvania is urging an incarcerated serial killer to consider donating his brain to science as a gesture of giving back to society.
Harvey Robinson was just a teenager when he was arrested in the early '90s after killing three people, making him one of the youngest serial killers in American history.
Lehigh County President Judge Edward D. Reibman asked Robinson, now 44, in court on Tuesday if he would consider donating his brain so that scientists can study his mind after he dies, according to local outlet The Morning Call.
“I think the one gift you can give to the community is helping science understand your behavior,” Reibman said, adding that he couldn’t court order it.
While initially taken aback, the convicted killer said he would consider it as long as doing so was OK with his religion. Robinson is Muslim.
His defense attorney, Gavin Holihan, said, “I think the suggestion is completely understandable, given how rare a serial killer is,” the Morning Call reports.
Reibman was in court on Tuesday for a resentencing hearing for his first slaying. Because of a 2012 ruling that made automatic life sentences for juvenile murderers unconstitutional, a life sentence for a killing he did when he was 17 has been changed from life to 35 to life. He raped and killed Joan Burghardt, a 29-year-old nurse’s aide from Allentown in 1992.
He is still serving another life sentence and death sentence for his other murders, as well close to 200 years for rape and other charges he was convicted of. He initially received three death sentences, Lehigh Valley Live reports. He is currently appealing the sole death sentence he has left.
Robinson murdered both a 15-year-old newspaper carrier Charlotte Schmoyer and Jessica Jean Fortney, a 47-year-old grandmother in 1993. Both victims were also raped and the teen victim was abducted from her newspaper route, according to a 2006 Morning Call report.
Robinson also pleaded guilty to raping Denise Sam-Cali and to raping a 5-year-old girl, both of whom survived. He was caught when he returned to try to kill Sam-Cali, shooting at an officer and hurting himself in the process. He was arrested when he sought out medical help.
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