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Chief 'Disappointed' by Ruling in K-9 Schultz Case

Gloucester Township Police Chief W. Harry Earle questions a judge's decision to grant Schultz's accused killer a stint in drug rehab.

Gloucester Township police are none too happy a Washington Township man charged with robbing a Blackwood Chinese restaurant and killing a police dog in late November 2010 apparently won't be heading to prison.

"I think it's fair to say it's certainly disappointing given the nature of the crime," Police Chief W. Harry Earle said Friday afternoon.

The Camden County Prosecutor's Office announced Thursday that Superior Court Judge Thomas Brown granted Skyler Robinson's request to enter drug rehabilitation rather than go to trial and face a prison sentence.

Robinson, 22, of Washington Township's Sewell section, was indicted in June 2011 on two counts of injury to law-enforcement animals and single counts of robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest. Those charges stem from the Nov. 30, 2010, Lucky Dragon Chinese restaurant robbery and Gloucester Township Police K-9 Schultz's death on Route 42.

Robinson appears to have been able to avoid a trial thanks to a new state law that took effect just last weekend.

The new law, which was adopted by the Legislature July 19, 2012, and took effect this past Saturday, allows offenders charged with second-degree or lesser crimes to apply for entry into the diversionary drug program. It also removed prosecutors' ability to oppose such requests, placing the decision solely with judges.

Robinson must enter a guilty plea in order to be accepted into the drug rehab program.

"There's obviously a time and a place for rehab, but we're dealing with the death of a law-enforcement officer and also a violent robbery of human beings," Earle said.

While they disagree with Brown's decision, Earle acknowledged he and other police officers have learned they aren't always going to be happy with the outcomes of cases they've worked.

Gloucester Township Police Cpl. Mark Pickard, who was Schultz's handler, is among those taking this particular decision very hard.

"He was disappointed, as well," Earle said, noting Pickard had been mentally preparing himself for Robinson's trial to begin next week.

Pickard could not be reached for comment Friday.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, Patch readers had posted 60 comments to Thursday's article reporting Robinson's case had been turned over to drug court. Most readers were critical of the new law and the judge's decision, with one user calling it "a smack in the face to our Law Enforcement Community."

Earle indicated he had read some of the Patch readers' comments.

"I think everyone wants some type of explanation" on why Brown granted Robinson's request, he said.

Evan Scotese is probably among those who would like an explanation.

The 21-year-old Sewell man is serving a six-year prison sentence as Robinson's co-conspirator in the Chinese restaurant robbery. Scotese pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery in August 2011.

Earle addressed the fact one man accused of the Lucky Dragon robbery is serving a six-year prison sentence while another accused of the same robbery and an additional crime is going to drug rehab.

"It does seem inconsistent," he said.

Police responding to the Blackwood Chinese restaurant the night of Nov. 30, 2010, on a report of a robbery ended up pursuing the suspects to Route 42.

K-9 Schultz caught up to and latched onto Robinson, police said, and both were struck by a passing car. After the police dog engaged Robinson a second time, the Sewell man reportedly tossed the 3 1/2-year-old German shepherd into oncoming traffic, and Schultz was struck by at least three more cars.

Schultz died at the scene. The police dog's death led to an outpouring of support for the Police Department.

joe January 26, 2013 at 07:45 PM
what the officer did is like telling your kid to chase a ball into traffic and then get upset because he was hit and killed in the traffic you just sent him into
Charles Mihalitsch January 26, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Joe, your ignorance is pathetic! The dog was thrown into traffic by the scumbag! The dog was attempting to apprehend him and was picked up and thrown into an oncoming vehicle. Now the POS gets a free pass because of a pathetically law he doesn't even get time for the armed robbery.
Anonymoustownship January 26, 2013 at 08:19 PM
No one paid off anyone. If you were getting attacked by a dog what the hell would YOU do? Skylar is a good kid who hit a rough patch and no its not fair that scotese gets all that time either. This stuff happens all the time. Its not the kids.. Its the.town they are raised in, theres nothing to do there but get caught up in the b.s. I am very sorry the dog was killed.. But is that not common sense that theres a huge possibility that when you send a dog after A suspect whome is running into traffic that the dog will get hurt?
Charles Mihalitsch January 26, 2013 at 08:40 PM
It's not the town they live in either. Their are good people and bad people in just about every town. It's the way they're raised and if the kid is a leader or follower. Followers usually will fall into peer pressure and get into trouble. Raise your kid to be a leader and keep them off drugs. Your boy Skylar is nothing but a sociopathic animal who will without a doubt be a criminal for the rest of his life!
GT44 January 26, 2013 at 08:42 PM
You and Joe are TRASH...but I'll blame your township don't worry. He ROBBED a business then he ran then he threw K-( officer Schultz) INTO traffic. Joe and yourself can not be any dumber, I actually feel sorry that Police Officers have to serve and protect morons like you and Joe. I will literally pray for the day that dirtballs like you need the police and watch you're bleeding heart liberal butts complain about how little justice you recieve.
Anthony T January 26, 2013 at 08:53 PM
What do you do? You stop and comply, simple as that. If you would have complied in the first place, Schultz would have never been deployed after him. "It's the town they grew up in," oh you mean Washington Twp? I know plenty of kids, many his age, that grew up in the same town and they aren't fighting off police and K9's. Your thought process is severely flawed.
Maryann Campling January 26, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Copper and I were at Schultz's Memorial Service representing Therapy Dogs, Inc. The number of people in attendance and the sadness felt by all is something that will stay with me forever. And to see the sadness in the eyes of the dozens of Canine Officers there with their dogs, just confirmed what I already knew....that the bond between the Officers and their dogs is deep and profound. Officer Mark and Chief Earle, I am so disappointed in the outcome of this case....Schultz deserved better.
Mike Nuzzo January 26, 2013 at 09:48 PM
No big deal, this guy had to plead guilty. No doubt he'll screw up this rehab thing and go to prison without a trial, its only a matter of time.
GERALYN CALDWELL January 26, 2013 at 11:00 PM
The K-9 was thrown in the path of an on coming car by this "terrible waste of space".
Vom Brunhaus January 27, 2013 at 01:43 AM
wont happen in NJ Gary thats for sure.
Vom Brunhaus January 27, 2013 at 01:46 AM
yup they are all DEMS my friend.
Vom Brunhaus January 27, 2013 at 01:57 AM
The Township excuse "City" of Glo. Twsp. has become a cesspool many years ago with its thousands of rental units everybody got rich on. Therefor you will have drug addicts & criminals parading around as its huge. We agreed to pay high taxes to get away from it all, and the Democrat Clinton passed Laws to put these people on our doorstep with Federal Legislation. Smart and fed up people are struggling to sell their homes and get outa Blackwood and Glo. Twsp. it will soon be the next Camden no doubt.
Donna Jarvis January 27, 2013 at 02:04 AM
The officer did not send his dog into traffic. The scumbag kid threw the dog into Rote 42 traffic.
Donna Jarvis January 27, 2013 at 02:06 AM
It is not the responsibility of a town to keep kids entertained so that they don't commit crime. What a pathetic excuse.
Donna Jarvis January 27, 2013 at 02:14 AM
My heart goes out to the entire Gloucester Twp. Police Dept. (human and canine). I think the judge's decision was completely wrong and comes nowhere near fitting the crime.
Sean McCullen (Editor) January 27, 2013 at 04:28 AM
Daniel: The K-9 officer is identified in this article. His name is Mark Pickard. The K-9's name was Schultz (after former Philadelphia Flyer Dave Schultz).
Jules Winnfield January 27, 2013 at 04:57 AM
This whole situation is a shame. Lots of people and a great police dog, by all accounts, hurt here.
Joe Harper January 27, 2013 at 06:33 AM
Congrats on beating the charge homie !!!!!!!!! Y'all just some hatersssssss. Drink that haterrrradeeeee cause da kid beat them charges like rocky!!!!!!!!wwaaaaaaahhhhooooooooo
Susan Jules January 27, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Putting all my personal animal beliefes aside.. in new jersey and many other states killing an animal is not the same charge as killing a human being.. two years in jail or two years in a rehab..at least this guy is off the streets for two years... maybe he will come out a better person maybe he wont...IM sure there are somepeople on here that routed for the beloved eagles after they put mike vic on the team and also said oh he did his time! Same thing. no doubt this guy is a scumbag he robbed a store he led the cops on a chase and he killed an animal .. IM sorry a beloved k9 of the police force and a family member Hes the animal...but he also did what any pwrson in that situation would do he. defended himself..
GTWatchdawg January 27, 2013 at 03:59 PM
How did the local legislators vote on this law? That would be Madden, Moriority, and Mosquera correct?
DebbieV January 27, 2013 at 05:06 PM
But if they are bound by a law that was enacted after the crime was committed, why were they not bound by Schultz's Law, which was also enacted after the crime was committed?????????????? Selective binding??? Doesn't Officer Pickard have the right to challenge this?
DebbieV January 27, 2013 at 05:10 PM
apparently this waste of life is a friend of yours!
DebbieV January 27, 2013 at 05:12 PM
and why did they have to come to our township??? keep your scum in your own township where they belong...
DebbieV January 27, 2013 at 05:14 PM
one can only hope!
Donna Jarvis January 27, 2013 at 05:44 PM
I, for one, did NOT give the Eagles a pass when they acquired Michael Vick. Quite the opposite, that situation cost me a lot of money. The moment I heard that Michael Vick was now an Eagle, my home was cleansed of every bit of Eagles clothing and collectibles (probably to the tune of a couple of thousands of dollars). It was packed up and taken to the Camden Co. Animal Shelter for their yard sale(s) and I have not watched a football game since. Yes, Michael Vick did his legally required time. I chose not to support a sport that would so easily allow him to return.
Pamela January 28, 2013 at 03:38 AM
If this is the same Judge Brown, which I will be checking into, this seems to be his M.O.. I was with a family that came before this judge, I sat in court with them, and this judge, again if same, talked the defendant into going into a facility for sex offenders, rather than prison. The defendant plead guilty to 7 counts of sexual abuse to a nine year old girl, a time spanning over a month. He wanted to go to prison, saying "G-d will cure him", the judge literally talked him into going to this skape-goat facility. The entire courtroom was shocked, including the prosecutor. I will come back to let this site know if it was the same judge, if so, I think we have a problem!
Big Daddy 1 January 28, 2013 at 05:15 AM
Pamela we do have a problem and it ain't just judge brown.
Maryann Campling January 30, 2013 at 02:17 AM
I understand that this piece of garbage is once again a guest of the County.....seems he got locked up again because of an outstanding warrant from a 2010 incident. What a surprise, huh? Don't know all of the details, perhaps Patch staff could check it out.
path January 30, 2013 at 12:09 PM
All who are upset about this verdict email the governor and appropriate authorities to protest this judgement. This is wrong and it is about time the people push the issues in this country. This piece of crap robbed a store and killed a police officer.
path January 30, 2013 at 12:10 PM
The laws in this country need to be updated and people need to pay for the crimes. You cannot rehabilitate crap, it just doesn't work, this SOB's lawyers worked the system. But the Judge ultimately made the decision. This is a travesty.

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