MISTRIAL ORDERED IN CASE OF FORMER SALEM WOMAN’S MURDER

MISTRIAL ORDERED IN CASE OF FORMER SALEM WOMAN’S MURDER

FRANKLIN COUNTY — An outburst by the defendant at his trial Wednesday resulted in a mistrial in the 2016 case of a former Salem woman’s murder.

Robert Dennis
(Source: Carbondale PD)

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.

Dennis decided last week to represent himself in the trial after he complained about his prior court-appointed attorneys.

As the trial started this week, he requested various medical records and subpoenas for witnesses.

Some of those records were given to him Tuesday night, including a copy of an interview police conducted with a potential witness.

Dennis reportedly stayed up all night and came into court Wednesday.

Before the jury was brought in, Dennis began criticizing prosecutors and the judge because he believes they “falsified evidence to convict a disabled man.”

Deputies escorted him out of the courtroom following an order from the judge who commented that Dennis,had clearly had a breakdown.

The judge declared a mistrial after Dennis left and ordered another fitness examination.

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.

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.

The judge did not set a date for Dennis to return to court.