Trial begins today for 1 of 3 charged in murder of Salem woman and the burning of her remains

Trial begins today for 1 of 3 charged in murder of Salem woman and the burning of her remains

CARBONDALE — One of three defendants charged in the 2016 death of a former Salem woman and the burning of her remains will be the first of the three tried when he represents himself at trial starting this morning with jury selection.

Robert Dennis is accused along with 24-year-old Tiesha Anderson and 24-year-old Lauren Stinde of the 2016 murder of Robin Stief and the burning of her remains in a wooded area in Carbondale.

The 27-year-old Carbondale man last week dismissed his third attorney in the case since his 2016 arrest and ultimately insisted he be allowed to represent himself at trial.

The judge advised Dennis that if he were to proceed on his own the court could not provide him with legal advice or assistance and he would not be given extra time in the law library.

Late last year the defense raised a doubt as to Dennis’ mental fitness to stand trial.

An evaluation was conducted and he was ultimately found fit to stand trial on the two first-degree murder charges and the Class 3 felony charge of concealing a homicidal death.

Of the other two defendants; Anderson has recently been ordered to undergo a mental fitness examination before she proceeds to trial. Stinde pleaded guilty a few months after the trio was arrested.