Defendant fit to stand trial in murder of Salem woman

MURPHYSBORO — Despite constant disruptions during a mental fitness hearing Wednesday in Jackson County Court, a 28-year-old man accused of the 2016 murder of former Salem resident Robin Stief, was declared fit to stand trial.

Robert Dennis was ultimately removed from the courtroom Wednesday after becoming loud and uncooperative and at one point walking out of the courtroom.

He had been found temporarily unfit to stand trial in the case charging him with Stief’s 2016 murder and the burning of her body to hide her death.

In 2017, defense attorneys raised a doubt as to Dennis’s 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.

Two others, 27-year-old Lauren Stinde and 26-year-old Tiesha Anderson are currently serving 30 and 40 years in prison respectively for Stief’s murder and the burning of her body.

A pre-trial hearing in Dennis’ case is scheduled for June 3.