Re-Trial Nets Convicted Murderer Even More Prison Time

September 27, 2013 Updated May 27, 2010 at 6:34 PM EDT

By Ginger Geoffery

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September 27, 2013 Updated May 27, 2010 at 6:34 PM EDT


His gamble backfired. Robie Drake of North Tonawanda asked for and was granted a re-trial on the two murders he was convicted of back in 1982 and now he's ended up with a prison term that's longer than his original sentence.

Drake's sentence is now 50-years-to-life instead of the original 40-years-to-life. The new sentence comes after he took the stand in his own defense this time around in State Supreme Court in Lockport. He did not testify in his first trial. The presiding judge, Justice Richard Kloch Sr., says Drake's own testimony is the reason for the longer sentence. Drake collapsed back into his chair when the judge announced the longer sentence in court on Thursday morning.

"You are a dangerous dangerous man," said Justice Kloch to Drake. The judge also called some of Drake's testimony "extremely scary".

The judge says he's imposing a harsher sentence because new information emerged at the second trial and that information came from Drake himself. Drake testified about the night in 1981 when as a 17-year-old in North Towawanda he fired 19 shots at what he claims looked like an abandoned car. Fellow teenagers Amy Smith and Steven Rosenthal though were in that car and Drake killed them both. It's his actions after the shooting though that seemed to seal his fate with the judge. Drake walked up to the car and stabbed Rosenthal.

"You told us, 'if I knew I had killed them I wouldn't have had to kill them the second time. I wouldn't have had to stab that knife in his back if I knew I had killed them I wouldn't have had to kill them'," said Kloch to Drake.

Drake offered an apology. "I have nothing but sorrow, grief and anguish for what happened that night. This pre-dates the computer world where you can hit the undo button and... there's not a day that goes by that I don't ever think about it," said Drake in the courtroom.

The victims' relatives though doubt Drake's sincerity. "Fifty years is what he's going to serve and he'll be a lot older, a lot wiser and a lot more remorseful," says Edward Burns, Amy Smith's uncle.

The new trial came about because Drake did research from prison and found a prosecution witness lied during the original trial. That witness did not testify in the second trial, but Drake's attorney says there are still other issues on which they can base an appeal.