‘The system has totally failed us:’ Family concerned after man with decades-long rap sheet is arrested again

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 6:45 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2022 at 8:56 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston County man with a rap sheet spanning years and multiple counties is accused of another violent crime, and one family is concerned the pattern will continue after they say he shot and killed their loved one last year.

Jalisa Catlin’s family calls the 32-year-old mother of four kind and generous and strong.

“[She was] very smart, loving, protective,” Gisla Stringer, Catlin’s cousin, said. “[She was a] very good mom.”

In January of last year, Stringer got a call that the unspeakable happened—Catlin had been killed at a gas station in North Charleston.

“She said, ‘Jalisa’s gone,’” Stringer said. “And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And she said, ‘She’s gone. Tyrone killed her.’ And I lost it.”

A sworn affidavit from a North Charleston Police detective states Tyrone Robinson III shot and killed Catlin “with a handgun he had in his sweatshirt.”

Robinson, however, was never charged with Catlin’s death.

The police affidavit says Robinson claimed “while visiting with the children, he and [Catlin] began arguing and that she threatened him with a handgun. The defendant advised that he felt in imminent peril and shot the victim in self-defense.”

North Charleston Police would not give us any other details.

“I absolutely don’t buy that,” Stringer said.

Catlin’s father, Jay, agreed.

“Just because she had a gun, doesn’t mean he can justify shooting her,” he said.

Less than two months after Catlin’s death, however, in connection with the incident, Robinson was charged with possession of a handgun by a persons unlawful and two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child. A police affidavit states he fled the area after shooting Catlin, leaving two of his children “unattended in the victim’s vehicle” at the scene.

“The kids were in the fire truck and when they brought them up, they were like ‘Auntie, mommy’s bleeding, mommy’s bleeding,” Ashley Washington, Catlin’s sister, said. “And then when you look over there, you can just see her lying on the ground.”

These crimes from last year are not the first Robinson is accused of committing.

Since 2001, court records show he’s pleaded guilty to grand larceny, burglary, assaulting an officer, assault and battery, and forgery.

He’s also been slapped with numerous other charges that the solicitor’s office did not end up prosecuting.

“I think that the system has totally failed us,” Catlin’s uncle, Cedric, said.

Back at the time of Catlin’s death, police called the incident “domestic-related”. Catlin’s sister says the couple had a volatile relationship.

“Jalisa would call me all the time, crying, saying, ‘He just did this, he just did that,’” Washington said. “I would go over and the whole house would be tore up. He would cut the furniture. He even cut her hair.”

But before Catlin’s death, court documents show Robinson was involved in other domestic incidents with a different victim.

In December of 2014, he was arrested after an incident report states an off-duty officer saw Robinson grab a woman by her throat and slam her into the wall of a hotel. According to the report, later, the victim—who was his girlfriend—told officers Robinson had been holding her in the hotel room on Savannah Highway against her will, repeatedly choking her and trying to smother her with a pillow. The victim says Robinson held a gun against her head and threatened to kill her.

Just a few weeks later in January of 2015, while out on bond for that incident, Hanahan Police say Robinson forced his way into a home in Hanahan, and he and another suspect held one victim at knifepoint and the other at gunpoint. According to Hanahan Police, Robinson then beat one victim—his girlfriend—repeatedly, rendering her in and out of consciousness. Police say he took the battery from her cell phone so she couldn’t call for help.

Court documents show solicitors did not end up prosecuting those two cases because the victim was “uncooperative,” because they couldn’t locate the victim or because there was

“I was just blown away,” Stringer said. “Like, how did she even end up with somebody like this?”

Most recently, in June, after a standoff with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office on Johns Island, Robinson was arrested again—this time for first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping.

According to a release from the Sheriff’s Office, the victim in this case, an acquaintance, said he used a firearm to hold her against her will and sexually assault her.

“Our heart goes out to the young lady, whoever it was, for what happened to her” Catlin’s mother, Felicia, said.

With a rap sheet in Charleston and Berkeley Counties, Catlin’s family says this trend of arrests, charges and violence concerns them. While Robinson is currently in jail awaiting trial for these latest charges, they are worried about what might happen if he is eventually released on bond.

“I think society needs to be protected from this man,” Felicia said.

Catlin’s uncle, John, agreed.

“He needs to be held accountable for everything he’s done, but justice is what we’re after right now,” he said.

But, the family says a year and a half after Catlin’s death, they’re still searching for answers.

“It’s still something we’re dealing with daily,” Washington said. “I don’t know if I will fully have closure from that. It’s something that’s changed me forever.”

We reached out to Robinson’s defense attorney for comment and have not heard back.

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