Investigators believe they have their man and that Washington DC resident Anthony Robinson is the so-called “shopping cart killer.” They said that he met his victims on dating websites and then allegedly lured them into motels, where he then killed them and transported their bodies in shopping carts.
It all started ten days before Christmas 2020 when police made a startling and gruesome discovery in a vacant, wooded lot across the street from the Moon Inn on N. Kings Highway in the Alexandria portion of Fairfax County. In a black plastic container next to a Target shopping cart in the 2400 block of Fairhaven Lane, the remains of two murdered women were found. One of the victims was likely DC resident Cheyenne Brown, police confirmed, who had been reported missing in late September. The other victim in the trash can was later identified as Stephanie Harrison.
On December 17, Fairfax County Chief of Police Kevin Davis told the world that they had a serial killer on their hands while giving him a nickname.
“Our serial killer is called the ‘shopping cart killer,’” said Davis from a podium during the press conference. “He’s called [that] because he meets his victims…on dating sites. He meets his victims, then, at hotels. After he inflicts trauma to his victims and kills them, he transports their bodies to their final resting place in a shopping cart.”
Reviewing previous, recent homicides in the region, it had become clear to police that one man was likely responsible for the murder of at least five women who had been found in DC, Alexandria, Harrisonburg, and Virginia over the course of several weeks.
Five Bodies, Three Shopping Carts – One Killer
Prior to the discovery of the remains of Harrison and Brown, on November 24, police found the bodies of two missing women — Allene Elizabeth “Beth” Redmon and Tonita Lorice Smith — in a trash can hidden in a vacant lot. Police also obtained a video allegedly showing a man moving those bodies from one place to the next in a shopping cart.
Shortly after that discovery, police arrested Robinson for the murder of those two women. Less than a month later, authorities found the bodies of Harrison and Brown in Alexandria in a vacant lot with a shopping cart nearby.
In January, officials announced that they had connected the dots – and realized that Robinson was the “shopping cart killer” in both incidents. They also believe that Robinson was responsible for the murder of Sonya Champ, who was found in a shopping cart near Union Station in DC in September.
“Digital evidence,” as in cell phone records and online messages, put Robinson in the vicinity of all five murders, according to the police. Authorities believe that he met the women through online dating sites, lured them to motels, and murdered them via blunt force trauma. He would then allegedly put them in shopping carts, transport them to vacant lots, and, often, dump them in large trash cans.
There remains concern that those five women were not the only victims.
Two weeks ago, Robinson’s lawyers filed a motion in court asking a Virginia judge to issue a gag order so that police stop using the moniker “shopping cart killer” or further discussing details of the cases. The lawyers fear that this could prevent Robinson from getting a fair trial.
In a statement to local radio station WTOP, a Fairfax County police spokesperson said that the county “stands by its criminal investigation.”
Currently, Robinson is awaiting trial at Rockingham-Harrisonburg Regional Jail in Harrisonburg. His next court appearance is currently scheduled for May 9.
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