Editor’s note: Some of the following is taken from stories published by the Augusta Daily Gazette written by Belinda Laresen.
Sue Jones still misses her sister — Kay Lyn Robinson’s life was cut short in a tragedy that as the first murder in 50 years rocked the community of Augusta to the core. It also devastated a family.
“As you can only imagine, the toll on our family was devastating and profound,” Jones said. “Daddy (Stanley Robinson) eventually sold his business. He and Mother (Patricia Robinson) moved to Longmont, Colorado where she started the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children. … Many were touched by her efforts and her compassion.”
Patricia Robinson was later recognized and honored for her work with victims of violent crime by multiple organizations, including the Governor of Colorado. She expanded her outreach into prisons and talked to inmates about the effects of their crimes, not only on the victim, but on their families and the community at large.
Kay Lyn Robinson was murdered May 8, 1979. Two men, Allen R. Jordan and Doug L. Williams, were arrested for the crime. Williams was convicted, but that was overturned later. Jordan was also convicted — and sits in prison at the El Dorado Correctional Facility today. Jones want him to stay there, despite his now third parole hearing coming up.
That hearing will be from 10 a.m. to noon March 18 at the Derby Police and Courts building in Derby. Jones will be there. She hopes community members will write a letter to suppor her, protesting the parole. Those can be sent to Office of Victim Services, 714 SW Jackson, Suite 300, Topeka, KS 66603 or KDOC_Victim_Notification@ks.gov
This is a 41-year journey for the Jones family — both of Kay Lyn’s parents are now gone.
“Mom eventually met with Jordan in the El Dorado prison facility – a highly unusual move. She asked him why, and his response was he knew when he walked into that apartment he would not leave Kay alive. Dead women tell no tales. She forgave him – something I still cannot bring myself to do,” Jones said.
That is why she keeps watch of the parole listings, and keeps working to keep Williams in prison where Jones believes he belongs.
Kay Lyn Robinson was the youngest of three daughters and was looking forward to high school graduation and the rest of her life. Her parents, Stanley and Patricia Robinson were successful business owners and community leaders. Their roots were in Butler County.
In 1979, Sue and her husband Ray Jones lived in Denver, Jan and her husband Bob Colvin lived in the Kansas City area, and 18-year-old Kay was a senior at Augusta High School.
It was around 1:30 a.m., the morning of May 9, 1979, when a phone call came for Jan from her father.
“Dad wouldn’t tell me, he just kept asking to speak to Bob and I thought something was wrong with Mom,” Jan continued. “He just kept insisting on talking to Bob - he had to tell him that my sister Kay was dead.”
Oldest sister, Sue received a call soon after. “At first he asked to speak to my husband and he wasn’t going to tell me, but he finally said ‘Our family has suffered a terrible tragedy. Kay is dead’, ” Sue said.
At that time, no one knew that Kay had been murdered.
Jan and Bob were soon on the road headed for Augusta. Sue caught the first plane she could that would have her in Augusta the next morning.
The family soon learned that Kay, who was only two weeks from high school graduation and about to begin her adult life, had been the victim of a grisly crime.
Investigation led by local police
The Augusta Police Department, led by Chief Steve Shaffer and Detective Richard Pressnell, immediately took charge of the crime scene, the investigation, and assisted the family in dealing with the tragedy.
The night of May 8, 1979, Kay left Lehr’s Restaurant around 10 p.m. She worked at the popular local restaurant as a waitress, but had turned in her resignation two weeks earlier making that night’s shift her last one. She went to her boyfriend’s upstairs apartment at 926 Lulu St. He worked second shift at Boeing and wouldn’t be home until after 1 a.m. Too late to save Kay.
In the time between 10:15 p.m. and the time the boyfriend arrived home, someone brutally raped and murdered the young woman.
That was when everything in life changed for the Robinson family. A precious daughter and a beloved sister was taken. They became immersed in epic tragedy and forced to deal with intense pain, anger and frustration.
Jan immediately became obsessed with the case - dogging the police and demanding to know each and every detail - even though some details were extremely painful.
“What transpired on that evening changed me forever, changed the dynamics of my family forever. I can’t explain in words what happened to me, but I was everlastingly different. Things like this aren’t suppose to happen to good people, but sadly they happen daily in our world. Kay, I will admit, was my favorite of my siblings, the most alike she and I. Never taking life too seriously and always on the hunt for something to make us laugh until we cried.”
She added, “The police were wonderful to us, and we’ve always credited them with solid investigation. They kept us informed every step.“
Two days after the murder, the Augusta Daily Gazette reported that the police had no motive yet and evidence was being collected at the crime scene. What was revealed is that Kay’s death was attributed to two deep slashes to her throat. There was a very significant loss of blood.
The Augusta Police Department, the El Dorado Police Department, the Butler County Sheriff’s Department, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation were all working on the case. But Augusta Chief Steve Shaffer was in charge and he theorized that Kay may have known her killer as there was no signs of forced entry and little sign of a struggle.
Nothing in the apartment was ransacked. Robbery as a motive was ruled out because her purse was found intact.
Kay’s boyfriend, who found her, was ruled out as a possible suspect.
Shaffer said that officers were working around the clock.
By May 10, two days after the murder, officers had already questioned 20 people and Kay’s car had been released to her parents.
While the funeral was in process on Friday, May 11, the police went back to 926 Lulu and arrested residents Allen R. Jordan, 23, and Doug L. Williams, 22. Local officers and agents with the KBI took Jordan into custody in front of his apartment and Williams was apprehended an hour later in the Andover area.
Both appeared before Associate District Court Judge John Michael Jaworsky in El Dorado the next afternoon, and both were charged with first degree murder, felony murder, kidnapping, rape and aggravated burglary. Williams was additionally charged with aiding a felon - Jordan was a paroled felon. Preliminary hearings were set and Geary Gorup, Butler County District Attorney, would be leading the prosecution.
Augusta Detective Richard Pressnell found a fingerprint on Kay’s glasses, which proved to be a turning point in the investigation. Rape was established as motive for the killing. Prosecutor Gorup stated, “Our evidence will show that the murder was committed in perpetration of a rape.“
Hearings were set, there was a continuance and two postponements because lab reports had not been received on evidence shipped to the KBI in Topeka.
The two men were charged on June 23 and bound over for trial.
In a statement made to police on May 11, the afternoon both men were arrested, Williams said that he and Jordan had been drinking and babysitting their children. They drank two six-packs apiece.
Both men pleaded not guilty to all charges. There would be two separate trials.
Jordan would remain in jail throughout his trial and Williams was out on bail.
Allen Jordan was on parole when the Robinson slaying was committed. He was convicted of robbery in Sedgwick County in 1975. There he received a maximum sentence of 3 to 20 years. He was incarcerated in the Kansas State Industrial Reformatory at Hutchinson. He was later transferred to the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing. He was paroled in 1978. Shortly after he was arrested for rape. Although it never went to trial, his parole was revoked and he returned to Lansing. He was paroled in less than a year later. Kay Robinson was murdered 40 days after he was released.
Jordan’s trial would be first and District Court Judge Page Benson would be the sitting judge. A jury of nine women and three men were selected, with the alternate juror being the only one from Augusta.
The trial lasted only four days. After six hours of deliberation, the jury found Jordan guilty of premeditated murder, rape and aggravated burglary.
As the verdict was read, Kay’s sisters and mother sobbed openly and her father Stanley fought to keep back his tears. Jordan dropped his head and rested it on his hands.
A motion for a new trial was denied and he was sentenced on Dec. 17. He received a life sentence for murder, 30 years to life for rape and 10-40 years for aggravated burglary. Judge Benson elected to sentence Jordan for the rape and aggravated burglary convictions under the habitual criminal act, which doubled the sentences.
The jury selection for Doug Williams’ trial took 1 1/2 days. The trial began on Nov. 26 and the case went to the jury after four days. The jury took a little over five hours to find him guilty of felony murder and aggravated burglary. The charge of felony murder carried a life sentence.
That would not compare to the lifetime sentence of pain for Kay’s family.
Williams only served 18 months when his conviction was reversed due to “non sufficient evidence.” The State Supreme Court found that the jury had made “presumptions or inferences” concerning the evidence.
Williams walked and there was nothing the Robinsons could do about it.
During the year following Kay’s death, Stanley sold his business and he and Pat moved to Longmont, Colo. That is when Pat took her grief and channeled it into something good. She became an activist for victims of violent crimes. Upon finding no support group for families of murder victims, she launched the Front Range Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children. She was an active member for many years and even served on the national board. She was appointed by Colorado Governor Bill Owens to serve on the Colorado Victims Assistance & Law Enforcement Board. She also served on the Compensation Board and the Colorado Victims Assistance & Law Enforcement Board for the 20th Judicial District.
She expanded her volunteer efforts by speaking to inmates in state and federal prisons in Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, Nevada, Nebraska and Arizona. She lectured on Restorative Justice and was honored with many awards.
“Mom became a voice for victims and parents... She stood up and was heard. It was something she was meant to do,” Jan added with a smile. “Dad was strong and always supportive, but he sat in the parking lot and waited on her while she was inside the prisons.“
Pat and Stanley attended Jordan’s first parole hearing. Parole was denied and again five years later. From all reports, Jordan continues to refuse to meet with the Review Board.
Pat had moved back to the Augusta area before she passed away in April of 2010. Several years before her death, she met with her daughter’s killer.
According to the Kansas Department of Corrections, Jordan has continued to be a disciplinary problem. His record indicates he has been in trouble almost from the first day in 1980 when he arrived at Lansing. He is now housed at the El Dorado Correctional Facility and disciplinary report shows an infraction in September 2018.
Continuing the mission
Both Pat and Stanley are gone, which leaves Sue and Jan to continue their mission to keep a killer in prison.
“Mom told us before she died, I hate to leave this to you girls, but you have to continue,” Sue added quietly. “Now it’s our job.“
Sue explained that petitions don’t carry a lot of weight with parole boards these days.
“Letters and emails work the best. Please send to Molly Turner, a victim’s advocate.“
Comments in opposition of his early release may be written to:
Office of Victim Services
714 SW Jackson
Topeka, KS 66603
Or email: Victimwitness@doc.ks.gov
Reference Allen R. Jordan (KDOC #0007866)