Local News

Murder suspect served as convicted felon in National Guard

Posted August 15, 2011 6:33 p.m. EDT
Updated August 15, 2011 7:40 p.m. EDT

— A man accused of killing and dismembering a Fayetteville woman served twice in the North Carolina National Guard, despite the fact that he had been convicted of a felony assault charge involving his wife more than 20 years ago.

Terry Dale Robinson Jr., 44, of Fayetteville, was arrested last week and charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in the death of Erica Cherie Gainey, 24, who disappeared in June.

Her remains were found last week inside a duffel bag in an SUV in Robeson County.

Robinson spent six years in prison after being convicted in 1989 of assaulting his estranged wife, who went into a coma and died two years later of her injuries.

He was in the National Guard from 1985 to 1987 and then again from 2001 to 2006. National Guard policy prohibits anyone with a felony conviction from serving.

Col. Robert Carver, a spokesman for the National Guard, says background checks were not as thorough at the time and, had it been known then, he would never have been allowed to enlist.

"At the time of his enlistment in 2001, there was only a requirement for a local records check, so he would have been checked in the county of residence," Carver said Monday. "So, if there was anything in a surrounding county, we would not have known about."

Robinson was living in Cumberland County when he enlisted in 2001, but his assault conviction was in Guilford County.

The National Guard has since changed the way it handles background checks and now does a national criminal records search on all enlisted personnel, Carver said.

Carver says that there are 12,000 Guard members in North Carolina and that 99 percent have no criminal records.