Fatal Errors

A 13-year old girl suffocated after snorting heroin with a friend. Then came the hysteria, lies, and missteps.

Between 8:30 and 9 p.m. Melendez returned with another man, whom Christina didn't know, and handed over the miniature baggie holding the heroin, saying it was worth $5 but the girls could have it for free. Christina passed the drugs to Sherry, who tucked them into her bra.

The two girls walked to a vacant mobile home nearby. The room was dark, so the girls lit a candle. Sherry took a razor blade from her purse and dumped the heroin onto a small mirror they kept in the unoccupied dwelling. They inspected it, then used the razor blade to chop it into a fine, yellowish powder. They divided it into two small lines and, using Sherry's $20 bill, snorted it.

Then they decided they wanted more. Melendez and Robles bicycled by, and after the girls and young men spotted one another, said he would come back shortly. Both men returned, and the girls told Melendez they wanted to buy more heroin. He told the girls he didn't have it on him. Sherry then left with Melendez while Christina waited with the other man. Sherry and Melendez returned quickly. Sherry had two miniature baggies, each holding $10 worth of heroin. The girls finished the drugs during two more trips into the vacant residence.

Daughter with proud mom: Darlene Robinson says there's still a lot to be learned about Sherry's death
Darlene Robinson
Daughter with proud mom: Darlene Robinson says there's still a lot to be learned about Sherry's death
Paramedics found Sherry dead on the terrazzo floor of this Miramar home (above); the drugs that killed her were likely purchased in Silver Oaks (below), which has a bad reputation when it comes to drugs
Paramedics found Sherry dead on the terrazzo floor of this Miramar home (above); the drugs that killed her were likely purchased in Silver Oaks (below), which has a bad reputation when it comes to drugs

Casey and Derek had left the trailer park earlier in the evening and returned not long after the girls finished the heroin. The girls joined them on the front porch of the Delarosa-Mulhall home, where Christina shared a joint with the two young men. Then the four drove to Derek's house, where the girls ended up sitting by the pool. Christina lit a joint, but Sherry again declined to join her. The girls wet their hair in the pool, took some photos, and chatted before going inside. It was some time around midnight that the two men went to bed, "and that's when Sherry went to the bathroom, and she threw up," Christina recalls.

Christina went into the bedroom where Casey was sleeping and asked him for his shirt. After he handed over the white tank top, Christina gave it to Sherry, who changed. They went into the living room, where Sherry stretched out on the terrazzo floor, Christina on the couch. Sherry wanted to take a short nap, so she asked Christina to wake her soon. Later they planned to ask Derek for a ride back to Silver Oaks.

During the second questioning, Detective Peluso asked Christina:

Q: Did there ever come a time when she was sitting on that couch?

A: I don't, I don't know. She could have. When I left the room, I said, "Sherry, wake up." And she was, "Umm hmm." I said, "Get on the couch. I'm gonna go in the room." She could have got on the couch, but I didn't see her get on the couch.

After Sherry fell asleep, Christina went to awaken Casey and tell him of the girls' plan to return to Silver Oaks. She couldn't rouse her stepbrother, though, so she stretched out beside him.

Christina awoke about 6 a.m. needing to get a drink of water and use the bathroom. Sherry was still on the living room floor and looked a little pale. "I said, "Sherry,' and she just, you know, nudged a little bit, moved her head. So I figured, Well, she's sleeping." Christina was tired, so she returned to the bedroom and went back to sleep.

The next thing she knew, Derek came into the bedroom, yelling that Sherry might be dead. It was sometime after 11 a.m. but probably closer to noon. At first she didn't believe Derek, but then she and Casey got up and followed him into the living room.

Derek Robinson gave his formal statement February 20, the day after Sherry's death. He had slept at the Delarosa-Mulhall home that Saturday. While he was sleeping, Christina took the keys to his car, a 1988 Cadillac Eldorado. When she returned she told him a patrol officer had given her a ticket and that the Caddy was still on Davie Road. As the young man told the story, Detective Peluso perused the citation, which was issued at 6:30 a.m. for driving without a license. Peluso noted Christina had given a false name to the patrol officer.

When Peluso asked about drugs, Derek offered little specific information except to say that a five-minute drive through Silver Oaks would yield your drug of choice, including cocaine, various pills, and marijuana. Derek then began his account of the Sunday evening before Sherry's death.

He said he and Casey had left Silver Oaks earlier Sunday evening but returned and settled in at the Delarosa-Mulhall home. The girls were coming and going, but he paid little notice. Eventually the four headed for his family's home in Miramar, where they ended up around the pool "just talking, you know, smoking [cigarettes] or whatnot."

Sherry started feeling ill, and Christina accompanied her to the bathroom, where Sherry vomited. When they returned to the pool area, the girls assured Derek they had cleaned up the bathroom. Sherry appeared to be sweating but said she was OK. Derek then went to his bedroom. (In his statement, Casey said he was the first to go to bed. He described a "boring, real boring" evening. Sherry didn't look "messed up" when he last saw her. He knew she became ill because Christina woke him and asked for his shirt.)

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