Murder suspect arrested in Arkansas

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Man who allegedly shot and killed Golden liquor store owner held without bond

By Lisa Schlichtman

A hushed "Yes sir" were the only words spoken by a suspected murderer who appeared for arraignment before Barry County Associate Circuit Judge Michael Garrett on Friday.

Dressed in a faded black and white striped jumpsuit and shackled at his ankles and wrists, Luke Anthony Trottier, 37, stood silently before the judge as the charges against him were read. Trottier stands accused of first degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of 58-year-old John Robinson at the Golden Package store on Jan. 24.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed along with the arrest warrant, Trottier entered the Golden Package store sometime on the night of Jan. 24 and caused the death of Robinson by "brutally shooting him with a 12-gauge shotgun at least twice while inside the business."

The affidavit, signed by David Bowman, one of the investigators with the Barry County Sheriff's Department, states that Trottier had an altercation with Robinson earlier in the day and Robinson asked the suspect not to return to his business.

One witness says he saw Trottier and Robinson arguing during the day and later saw the suspect's vehicle parked across the road from the Golden Package store at around 8:20 p.m.

"We believe the incident started at 8 or 9 a.m. that morning when the suspect bought beer at the store," said Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly. "On his way out of the parking lot, the suspect spun out in the gravel, and when he came back later in the day, John (Robinson) got onto him for it."

Robinson allegedly telephoned his wife to report that someone driving a tan and green Jeep had threatened him and he was going to stay at the store because he thought the man might try to do damage to his business.

Robinson was found dead in his store around 10 p.m. on Jan. 24 by deputies with the Barry County Sheriff's Department who were responding to a 911 call. The shooting was discovered by an area resident who went by to check on the liquor store owner and found him shot and lying on the ground.

"The suspect went drinking and then came back to the store," said Epperly. "He claims he didn't mean to shoot him, but he did carry a gun into the store. The only motive that we can tell is anger between him and John."

"At first we expected it to be a robbery, but now it seems to be a case of uncontrolled anger," Epperly added.

Trottier, who hails from Marlborough, Mass., was arrested on the morning of Jan. 25 outside the home of his parents in Grandview, Ark., a town located six miles northwest of Berryville, Ark., and about six miles south of Golden.

A green and tan Jeep matching the description of the vehicle seen leaving Golden Package around the time of the shooting was found parked about 1,000 yards down the road from Trottier's parents' home.

While deputies were interviewing the parents, Trottier was seen walking down the road, carrying a loaded shotgun. When ordered to "get down" by officers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Carroll County Sheriff's Department, Trottier did not put up a fight and was arrested without incident, according to Epperly.

The shotgun Trottier was carrying at the time of his arrest is thought to be the murder weapon. According to court records, Trottier purchased a Maverick Model 88 12-gauge shot gun from the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Berryville, Ark., on Jan. 13. He also bought several boxes of 12-gauge shotgun shells.

"This arrest came about because of the good teamwork between all the agencies, including Carroll County and the Highway Patrol," said Epperly.

Trottier is currently being held without bond in the Barry County Jail. He will be filing a request for representation by the public defender's office and is due back in court on Feb. 2 at 1:30 p.m.

At Friday's arraignment, Judge Garrett entered two pleas of not guilty on behalf of Trottier.

"That will protect your rights until you have time to talk with a public defender," said Judge Garrett.

John Robinson's wife and son were present in the courtroom when Trottier was arraigned.

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