Alabama DA: Murdered 8-Year-Old Died During Sexual Assault by Father

By Theresa Seiger for Hiawayi (pronounced like the state, Hawaii) Robinson, the 8-year-old...

By Theresa Seiger for

Hiawayi (pronounced like the state, Hawaii) Robinson, the 8-year-old girl found dead behind an abandoned building in September, died of "homicidal violence" at the hands of her father, Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Authorities arrested 38-year-old Hiawatha Robinson on charges of first-degree sodomy and murder on Tuesday afternoon. If convicted, Hiawatha Robinson faces 10 to 99 years or life in prison for each charge, Rich said.

"The facts will show that while engaging in sodomy in the first degree, Hiawatha Robinson Jr. caused the death of Hiawayi Robinson," she said.

Under Alabama law a person may face charges of first-degree sodomy if he or she engages in "deviant sexual intercourse" with a person less than 12 years old.

"Deviant sexual intercourse is defined in the law of the state of Alabama as sexual gratification involving the sexual organs of one person and the mouth or the anus of another person," Rich said. She declined to comment on whether abuse of the child by her father had been ongoing.

Hiawatha Robinson will appear in Mobile County District Court at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday for a bond hearing. Rich said prosecutors will ask he be held without bond.

On Tuesday evening he remained under protective custody in Mobile County Metro Jail.

Robinson has spoken with authorities, although Rich declined to share his comments or elaborate on what authorities seized when they searched his home in October. His girlfriend's home was also searched. The warrants have been sealed.

"It was not a simple investigation," Rich said. "It was a collective effort and it took a significant amount of time."

Authorities with Prichard police, the FBI and the State Bureau of Investigation announced the arrest exactly three months after family members reported Hiawayi Robinson missing.

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