Pennsylvania February 18, 2018
The Story Of The Serial Killer Who Terrorized This Pennsylvania Town Is Truly Frightening
Harvey Miguel Robinson. If you lived in PA, specifically Allentown, in the early 1990’s, you likely remember that name and the terror associated with it. Robinson became one of the nation’s youngest serial killers at only 17. But, before he was caught, the murderer, now sitting on Death Row, terrorized the Pennsylvania town of Allentown.
August 1992. A serial killer, the first in the city's history, would strike in Allentown. On August 9, Joan Mary Burghardt, a 29-year-old nurse's aide, was found murdered in her home. She had been beaten over the head more than two dozen times.
Robinson, whose father had also committed murder three decades before, had committed numerous burglaries prior to Burghardt's murder. It was a burglary that landed him in jail for eight months after killing Burghardt. After he was released from prison, Robinson struck again.
Fifteen-year-old Charlotte Schmoyer had been out delivering newspapers along her route when Robinson kidnapped her. He raped and stabbed her 20 times before dumping her body in the woods in June 1993.
Just a month later, Robinson broke into Jessica Jean Fortney's home. He stabbed, beat, and suffocated the 47-year-old.
Robinson had two more victims, including a five-year-old. He broke into the little girl's home, raped her, and attempted to murder her by strangulation. She survived.
But, it was his next target who would help put Robinson behind bars for the rest of his life. Robinson broke into Denise Sam-Cali's home in 1993, raping and beating her. She managed to fight him off, biting him and sending him fleeing into the night.
Both Sam-Cali and the Allentown Police Department expected Robinson to return. A police officer stayed at Sam-Cali's home and, sure enough, Robinson came back. Managing to escape, Robinson injured himself and sought help at a local hospital.
Police found him, ending the terror he inflicted on Allentown but beginning a long legal battle to save himself from the death penalty.
Ultimately, Robinson was sentenced to death for the murder of Fortney. He received life sentences in the murders of Burghardt and Schmoyer. Robinson remains on death row as of 2018.
Do you remember the story of Henry Robinson, the teenager who terrorized a Pennsylvania town?
Click here to read about nine other well-known murder cases in Pennsylvania.