8-month-old report ruled airport death homicide

Apr. 06, 2013 @ 05:24 AM

A day after the autopsy of an employee at the Rutherford County Airport was released, the North Carolina Chief Medical Examiner's Office released the investigation report surrounding the case.

On Friday, the report which was completed Aug. 11, 2012 but not obtained by The Daily Courier until Friday, ruled the death of Edward Robinson as a homicide.

Rutherford County Sheriff Chris Francis said that the sheriff's department had not seen the August report until now.

"We probably got it the same time you did," Francis said. "We had not received anything until yesterday (Thursday).

"We have been calling just about every other week for a long time asking for the information."

The Department of Pathology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine sent the autopsy of Edward Robinson to Francis on Thursday and ruled the cause of death to be "diffuse axonal injury of the brain due to blunt force head injury."

The autopsy indicated that Robinson had blunt trauma on his chest and abdomen, as well as areas on his upper and lower extremities.

In the investigation report the probable cause of death was listed as "subarachnoid hemorrhaging due to blunt force trauma to the head from a torque wrench." According to the diagrams in the investigation report, the trauma was caused on the upper portion of Robinson's skull.

On Aug. 8, 2012 the sheriff's department was dispatched to the Rutherford County Airport to a report of a "cardiac arrest." However, after initial reports were taken, a criminal investigation began, looking into an alleged assault that took place at the airport between Robinson and Robert Garth Craig, 37 of Rutherfordton.

Robinson was a "long-time" employee of the airport while Craig was not an employee, but has been described as a flight instructor at the airport.

The investigation report stated that Robinson and Craig had an "on-going dispute." During the altercation, Robinson hit Craig in the face and "drew back to hit him ... with the wrench." At that time, Craig grabbed the wrench and struck Robinson, causing him to fall to the floor and hit his head.

According to the Brain Injury Institute website (www.braininjuryinstitute.org), diffuse axonal brain injuries are "one of the most severe types that can lead to death." It also stated that the injury comes as a result of "movement of the brain within the skull." The website also said that the injury is not caused by a blow to the head.

Francis said that the intent is to present the final investigation report to Rutherford County District Attorney Brad Greenway next week.

"At that point, he will decide whether it will come to the grand jury and, if so, how it will be presented to the grand jury," Francis said. "Nothing has changed on our end."

There have been no arrests made.

"We want to make sure we have a complete report to turn over and now we do," Francis said. "We can present those findings and the other findings in the case."