Sunday, July 21, 2024

Gatesville resident pleads guilty to murder of missing Waco woman

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Jessica Colleen Robinson of Gatesville has been sentenced to 47 years in prison for the murder of Waco resident Elizabeth Romero, according to a press release from the office of District Attorney Dustin H. Boyd.

Robinson was arrested on charges related to the killing of Romero in 2022. The release states that Robinson pled guilty to murder, a first-degree felony charge, on Wednesday.

Romero was originally reported missing by Waco police in April 2022 after her family lost contact with her. An arrest affidavit states that Romero was known by her family to frequent Gatesville. The last ping on her phone from April 2, 2022, revealed an area near Gatesville.

In May 2022, the Coryell County Sheriff’s Office received a tip suggesting that Romero may have been murdered at the 800 block of Moccasin Bend Road and that her body had been loaded “in a blue pickup and dumped off a bridge,” according to the affidavit.  It was reported to authorities that Robinson and another woman, Erin Finchum, were involved with the murder at the Moccasin Bend address.   

Investigators interviewed Finchum who said they were present when Robinson shot Romero with a small caliber revolver, the complaint states.

According to the affidavit, investigators with the Texas Rangers and Coryell County Sheriff's Office also spoke with Robinson’s mother, Betsy Ayers Robinson, who admitted that “her daughter Jessica shot Elizabeth at the house but does not know where the body was dumped.” Ayers Robinson allowed investigators to search her blue Chevrolet truck, where they found a necklace with hair, beer cans, a cell phone, and stains that tested positive for human blood. 

Jessica Robinson was charged with murder on May 20, 2022.

Robinson was first arrested on May 19, 2022, on a charge of property theft. An arrest affidavit states that Romero was also involved in the theft, which took place at a construction site around March 31, 2022.

The affidavit states that a construction worker had taken a video of Robinson and Romero after they allegedly stole 10 sheets of plywood from the property. The owner of the property posted the video to Facebook. Romero contacted the owner via social media and admitted her involvement with Robinson.

The affidavit states that the vehicle used in the theft was a blue Chevrolet truck, which belonged to Betsy Ayers Robinson.

Ayers Robinson has also been charged with murder and tampering with evidence, according to a previous report by The Messenger.   She remains in custody at the Coryell County Jail on over $1 million in bond.

Another suspect in the case, Cody Gene Ayers, was charged with tampering with evidence. He was released in August 2022 after posting a $20,000 bond.

Finchum was arrested on an unrelated charge of assault and is being held at the Coryell County Jail on a $270,000 bond.

A spokesperson with The Coryell County Sheriff's Office said Romero's remains were found shortly after the arrests. 

The cases involving the three other suspects are still pending, according to the District Attorney release.