- Associated Press - Monday, January 5, 2015

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - A man charged with sodomy and murder in the slaying of his 8-year-old daughter was the last person seen with the child before her disappearance, a prosecutor said Monday as a judge sent the case to a grand jury.

Authorities revealed some of the evidence that they say ties Hiawatha Robinson to the death of Hiawayi Robinson one the same day the man appeared before a judge for a preliminary hearing.

Prosecutors allege the girl was supposed to meet with her father the day she went missing in September because he called saying he had birthday money for her.

The child’s body was later found at an abandoned house, and authorities said evidence showed the girl was sexually assaulted.

Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said investigators detected pinging from the man’s cellphone in the area where her body was found two days after she was reported missing in September.

“So the cell phone records, the phone calls, the defendant statements that he was going to pick her up and give her money for her birthday were among many of the things that the judge cited as to why this case would move forward,” Rich said outside court.

District Judge Joe Basenberg said there was enough evidence for grand jurors to consider whether to indict Robinson, 38.

But defense attorney Jeff Deen said authorities don’t have any DNA evidence linking Robinson to the girl’s death.

“They have some circumstantial evidence,” he said. “The people that I’ve talked to that seem to just come up to me that seem to know Hiawatha, they can’t believe that he would be involved in something like this.”

In court, Robinson mostly stared at the ground. He shook his head when some evidence was detailed before the judge.

Robinson is in jail with bond set at $500,000.

Separately, Robinson has pleaded not guilty to a charge of illegally possessing a firearm.

Authorities contend the man had a shotgun the day officers searched his home in Prichard in October while investigating the death of his daughter. Robinson can’t legally possess a gun because of past convictions on charges including domestic violence and drug possession, prosecutors argue.

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