By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – This month marks the 21st anniversary of the unsolved stabbing-death of Columbia’s Jack Robinson, one of approximately 68 cold case murders the Richland County Sheriff’s Dept. (RCSD) is hoping to bring to a close. And both the victim’s daughter and RCSD investigators are continuing to work it.
The Robinson murder took place Aug. 17, 1996 at the Rosewood Boat Landing (today known as the Jordan Memorial Boat Ramp) an access point to Columbia’s Congaree River on the far west end of Rosewood Drive. There, on that Sat. evening just after 6:00 p.m., RCSD deputies responded to a reported assault wherein they found the 65-year-old Robinson, “stabbed in the upper body,” according to reports. Robinson was immediately transported to Palmetto Health Richland Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“I will never rest until I find my father’s killer,” says Tammy Downs, Robinson’s daughter who today is one of 22 contributing writers to the recently published book, ‘GRIEF DIARIES: PROJECT COLD CASE (AlyBlue Media, Nov. 2016). “Someone knows who murdered him, and we need closure on this for my family.”
The particulars of what took place, Aug. 17, remain a mystery. But what is widely believed is that Robinson and the suspect were “acquaintances.” They were reportedly walking together and talking near the boat landing, and according to the case file, “A verbal altercation over money became physical.”
Investigators quickly developed a lead and a composite sketch still believed to be that of the suspect [see composite sketch].
The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, olive complected, between 25 and 35-years-old (he would now be 46-56). He is further described as approximately five feet-five inches tall, 150-180 pounds, with black hair.
“We want to solve all of our cold cases for our surviving family members,” says RCSD Deputy Chief Stan Smith. “This case lacks a good bit of evidence in that we only have the eyewitness accounts. But we do believe somebody is out there who was in Columbia at the time and who knows something about this murder, and we want them to come forward.”
If anyone has any information about the Robinson murder or any other cold-case homicides on file, please contact the Richland County Sheriff’s Dept. at (803) 576-3000 or 1-888-CRIME-SC.
For additional information regarding any of the RCSD’s cold case files, please visit http://www.rcsd.net/wanted/unsolved.htm.