First Web site killer trial starts

Chat room 'Slavemaster' in dock over five murders

A Kansas man known as "Slavemaster" in online sexual chat rooms is due to appear in court tomorrow, June 15, accused of killing five women.

John Robinson has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder. The bodies of two women were found stuffed in 55-gallon barrels on his farm in Linn County, Kansas. Three more were also discovered in similar circumstances in a rented storage facility in Missouri.

It is alleged that Robinson used a hammer or blunt instrument to beat the women to death.

The 56-year-old had already been in custody since June 2 on charges of sexual assault after S&M sex encounters with two women he met through the Web. His bail was $5 million.

It is believed he used the Internet to meet women from all over the US, such as alleged victim Suzette Trouten. Her family claim she was lured through a chat room by the promise of $62,000 to care for an "elderly father". Trouten disappeared after moving to Robinson's farm to work for him.

Investigators believe Robinson, who has a wife and family, sometimes posed as a businessman who wanted to help young women find work.

And detectives fear their discovery could be the tip of the iceberg and that the trail of killings could date back as far as the mid-eighties. At least four other people reportedly connected to Robinson at this time, three women and a 5-month-old girl, are also missing.

The prosecution, reported to be seeking the death penalty for Robinson, is refusing to reveal the full extent of the role played by the Internet in the case. ®

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