WAGONER — An Oklahoma National Guard soldier decorated for valor in Afghanistan is back in the Wagoner County jail facing a first-degee murder charge in connection with the April shooting death of his uncle.
Maxx Robinson, 22, is accused of killing Bill J. Cline Jr., 58, during an April 1 altercation at Cline’s home in Porter.
Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris filed the murder charge Monday afternoon in Wagoner County District Court.
Deputies took Robinson into custody without incident about 10 p.m. Monday at his Porter home, and he was booked into the jail on a no-bail warrant.
Robinson appeared briefly in court Tuesday afternoon wearing a jail-issued, black-and-white-striped jail jumpsuit and shackles. Robinson’s court-appointed attorneys entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf. Associate District Court Judge Dennis Shook ordered Robinson be held without bail.
If convicted of the charge, Robinson faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole.
While deployed to Afghanistan with the Oklahoma National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in 2011, Robinson and his hand-picked platoon were ambushed by Taliban insurgents while on a sniper mission.
Robinson, a combat medic, shot and killed two attackers with his pistol and then treated soldiers who were wounded in the attack.
The incident left three U.S. soldiers dead and two seriously wounded.
Robinson was awarded the Bronze Star with valor device for his actions in the battle. He also received a Purple Heart. He was discharged from the Guard in January.
Robinson’s Afghanistan exploits were chronicled in a three-part series published last year in The Oklahoman.
About 5 p.m. April 1, a Wagoner County sheriff’s deputy sitting in his patrol car in Porter heard four gunshots, according to a court affidavit.
Moments later, Robinson and his older brother, Skyler Robinson, flagged down the deputy. Maxx Robinson told the deputy he’d shot Cline, according to the deputy’s probable-cause affidavit.
Maxx Robinson maintains his uncle was drunk and belligerent, and came at him with a machete.
Authorities arrested Maxx Robinson on a murder complaint and his brother on a complaint of accessory to murder and obstruction of justice. Skyler Robinson, 28, was released days after the shooting on $75,000 bail.
Meanwhile, Wagoner County prosecutor Brian Kuester asked to be recused from the case because Skyler Robinson’s girlfriend worked in his office. The attorney general assigned Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Moore to take over the prosecution.
Maxx Robinson remained jailed until April 21, when he was released after Moore’s office notified the judge that no charges would be filed that day.
Within days, Moore asked to be recused after Wagoner County Sheriff Bob Colbert complained that Moore’s office had mishandled the case.
The attorney general then assigned the case to Harris.
Harris chose not to file charges against Skyler Robinson. Through a spokeswoman, Harris declined to comment.
Maxx Robinson is next scheduled to appear in court June 16. A judge will hear motions filed Tuesday by Robinson’s attorneys seeking to have him released from custody and the case dismissed contending a deputy omitted statements from a probable-cause affidavit that Robinson had said the shooting was in self-defense.
On July 31, Maxx Robinson will be back in court on another motion seeking to dismiss the case on grounds that Harris lacked proper authority to file charges. A preliminary hearing date also is expected to be set at that time. Robinson’s attorneys could not be reached for comment.
Some of Cline’s relatives welcomed news of Maxx Robinson being charged in the death.
“Thank God. My family is finally getting justice,” said Jodie Cline, 28, a niece who lives in Broken Arrow. “The last few months have been a nightmare.”