In Last-Minute Deal, Transient Pleads Guilty to Road Shooting

Times Staff Writer

Moments before his trial was to begin Monday, a 19-year-old transient pleaded guilty to shooting a motorist during the height of last summer’s traffic-related violence.

Thomas Lee Robison entered his plea on one count of second-degree attempted murder before San Fernando Superior Court Judge Howard J. Schwab in the Aug. 1 shooting of Henry Kingi, the estranged husband of actress Lindsay Wagner.

Robison originally was charged with premeditated attempted murder, but, in a plea bargain, the charge was reduced to second-degree attempted murder, which is stipulated as being unpremeditated, Deputy Dist. Atty. Harold S. Lynn said.


Under terms of the agreement, prosecutors will recommend that Robison be sentenced to 12 years in prison, the maximum possible, Lynn said. By law, Robison will be eligible for parole in about 5 1/2 years, Lynn said.

“The incident happened so fast that it is unclear whether we could have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Robison deliberately intended to kill Kingi,” Lynn said.

Kingi, 43, a stunt driver in such television series as “The Dukes of Hazzard” and the “A-Team,” was shot in the arm and chest at the intersection of Ventura and Laurel Canyon boulevards in Studio City.

The incident occurred at the peak of the roadway violence that began in Southern California in mid-June. Sixteen of the more than 30 traffic-related shootings reported over the summer occurred the week Kingi was shot.

Kingi testified during Robison’s preliminary hearing in December that he and his 4-year-old son were driving east on Ventura Boulevard when a Jeep containing seven people cut in front of him and forced him toward the center of the street.

A few minutes later, the Jeep once again narrowly missed hitting his car at Laurel Canyon Boulevard, where he had stopped for a red light, he said. Kingi then got out of his car and walked over to the Jeep, he said.

A man jumped out and began arguing with him, Kingi said. Robison then climbed out of the Jeep and pointed an automatic pistol at his temple, he said.

Robison pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire, Kingi said. He then kicked Kingi in the groin and pulled the trigger again. This time the gun fired, hitting Kingi in the arm and chest, he said.

Kingi said he drove himself to the hospital, where he stayed for five days. His son was not injured.

The Jeep’s occupants were apprehended about 30 minutes later and identified Robison as the person who had fired at Kingi, Los Angeles Police Lt. Ron LaRue said.

Robison, who is being held in County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail, is to be sentenced June 14 in San Fernando Superior Court.