NEWS

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January 6, 2006

Guard charged with attempted murder

A U of C security guard was charged with attempted first-degree murder on Wednesday, following a December 3 attack and attempted robbery of three second-year students as they returned home from a party.

Robin Zimmerman, 28, pleaded not guilty as Cook County prosecutors detailed the serious nature of her crime, which left one victim hospitalized with a concussion and another with a serious head wound.

“That’s not her character to hurt someone else and take something from someone else,” said Zimmerman’s mother at a Bond hearing on December 4, adding that her daughter had faced some emotional problems recently. “She needs to go into a hospital. She doesn’t need to go to jail.” According to the Criminal Division of the Cook County Circuit Court, Zimmerman does not have a prior criminal history.

University spokesman William Harms stated that Zimmerman worked as a security officer at the University of Chicago Hospitals for the past two years, supervising the closed-circuit televisions that monitor the facility.

Prosecutors allege that on the night of Friday, December 2, Zimmerman lost an undisclosed amount of money while gambling at a casino. In the December 4 bond hearing, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Rita Moran explained that what ensued was Zimmerman’s attempt to recover her gambling losses.

In the early morning hours of December 3, prosecutors believe that the three 19-year-old female victims were walking back to their apartments after attending a party. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office would not release the victims’ names.

At approximately 2:50 a.m., Zimmerman spotted the women as she drove down the 5700 block of Kimbark Avenue, where she then parked her car and followed them into a nearby alley, according to Marcy Jensen, spokeswoman for the State’s Attorney’s office.

Zimmerman reportedly picked up a one-and-a-half foot long piece of metal pipe, jogged up from behind the women, and struck two of the victims on their heads, sending them to the ground with serious injuries. According to Moran, one of the victims suffered a concussion, and the other needed four staples in her head as a result of the blows.

The third victim suffered bruises after being struck on her arm and shoulder and managed to run into her apartment building around the corner to call 911.

Zimmerman reportedly struggled with the two injured women on the ground and took one of the victim’s purses before returning to her car and driving away.

Nearby residents who had heard the cries for help from their balcony watched Zimmerman flee the scene and called police with a detailed description of her car and which direction she was headed.

Police soon caught up to the car at East 55th Street and South Ellis Avenue, where they positively matched the vehicle’s description and recovered the victim’s purse, according to Harms.

Victims and eyewitnesses identified Zimmerman at a police station, where she was booked and held for appearance in bond court the next day.

At the December 4 hearing, Cook County prosecutors charged Zimmerman with armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, and aggravated battery on a public way.

At her next and most recent hearing on January 4, Zimmerman was indicted by a Cook County Grand Jury and charged with 15 felonies, including armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery, and most seriously, attempted first degree murder, which carries a maximum 30-year prison sentence.

Until her next court date on January 26, Zimmerman has been ordered held at Cook County Jail in lieu of $22,500 bail, which, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, has not yet been posted.

Although Harms could not officially specify the basis of the administrative decision, he confirmed that Zimmerman’s time at the Hospitals has ended. “She no longer works for the University,” he said.