Edward C. Robinson

Edward C. Robinson listens in Yakima County Superior Court during his preliminary appearance Friday, April 10, 2020. Robinson is accused of stabbing two Brownstown women to death April 9, 2020. 

Federal trial has been delayed for a man charged in the 2020 murders of his mother and sister-in-law in Brownstown due to concerns about his competency to stand trial and assist in his own defense.

Edward Charles Robinson Jr., 35, of Harrah faces two counts of first-degree murder and a single count of assault with a dangerous weapon. He is accused of fatally stabbing Maria Martinez, 50, and Shante Barney, 23, on April 9, 2020, in the home the women shared in the 11000 block of Branch Road.

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Martinez was Robinson’s mother and Barney was his sister-in-law, court documents said. Robinson is charged with assaulting a third person with a knife. If convicted, Robinson faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in federal prison.

Robinson was originally charged in Yakima County Superior Court. Federal authorities took the case because it involved enrolled Native Americans and occurred within the boundaries of the Yakama Reservation.

Trial had been scheduled for May 16 at U.S. District Court in Yakima. On March 24, the day after a status conference, Judge Stanley Bastian issued an order striking that court date and granting a motion for competency restoration after a forensic evaluation indicated Robinson suffers from a mental disorder. Federal prosecutors and Robinson’s attorney filed motions to determine competency.

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Bastian ordered that Robinson be transported “at the soonest possible date” to a treatment facility determined by the Bureau of Prisons. He would remain there for no more than four months and undergo competency restoration procedures to determine if Robinson “will regain the necessary mental capacity to permit the proceedings to go forward.”

It’s unknown if Robinson has been transported to a treatment facility. Bastian ordered status reports on the 8th of every month until Robinson is taken to a facility; the first is due Friday. Bastian set a status hearing for Aug. 10.

Reach Tammy Ayer at tayer@yakimaherald.com.

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