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Murder suspect tried to contact witnesses to get their stories straight, police say

SHARE Murder suspect tried to contact witnesses to get their stories straight, police say

Michael Taylor Robinson

Utah County Jail

PROVO — A man currently awaiting trial for murder could now face more criminal charges after police say they caught him trying to orchestrate the stories of potential witnesses.

Michael Taylor Robinson, 27, of Provo, is accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend, 27-year-old Freya Larsen, on May 7, 2019. Family members say the two had a history of domestic violence and that Larsen was planning on moving away.

Robinson is charged with murder, a first-degree felony. He has remained in jail since his arrest. A jury trial that was supposed to happen in January was canceled due to concerns over COVID-19. Robinson’s next court date is scheduled for March 4.

But now, Robinson may face additional charges for allegedly reaching out to potential witnesses from jail.

He was arrested Wednesday for investigation of three counts of obstructing justice.

On Feb. 20, Robinson attempted to give his mother several books. “As per the jail policy, a deputy goes through the books to verify there is no contraband or anything in the books the inmate is attempting to release,” a police affidavit states.

A deputy going through one of the books found what appeared to be notes written to three people.

“Next to the introduction page there are at least three names written with numbers next to each name,” the affidavit states. “At the bottom of the handwriting it says, ‘Don’t submit to Provo PD only to my attorneys. Everyone keep 1 copy to study. Get to know it stick to story.’”

On the corresponding page numbers written next to each name, the deputy found additional notes. The numbers appeared to direct each person to the story they were expected to know, according to police.

Each story references a time when Larsen was allegedly acting “crazy” or violent against Robinson or had made threats — including death threats — in the past, according to the affidavit.

The notes to one of the witnesses stated that Larsen was “very abusive” and that “Michael blamed the victim’s poor behavior on her drug use,” the affidavit states.

“It says the victim had PTSD, split personality disorder and schizophrenia that caused her to go crazy. It says the victim ended up beating the crap out of Michael on the porch and knocked him out. It says Michael didn’t fight back or try to hit the victim,” according to the affidavit.

On another page, police say there are notes about the strategy of Robinson’s defense team and how a key factor in the case could be arguing whether Robinson knew there was a potential for violence on the night of the killing.

“Michael is obviously obstructing the case and tampering with potential witnesses in the aggravated murder case, which is still pending before the court,” the affidavit concludes.