Tommy Robinson, controversial Arkansas sheriff, dead at 82

Tommy Robinson, who made headlines as a controversial Arkansas sheriff and later a congressman, has died at the age of 82.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Tommy Robinson, a former Pulaski County sheriff and U.S. Congressman who was known for controversial headline grabbing events, has passed away at the age of 82.

Born on March 7, 1942, Robinson would make a name for himself in the 1980s after winning an election to become Pulaski County sheriff. It’s there Robinson would grab the attention of the state media with controversial tactics while also dealing with an overcrowding issue at the county jail.

Robinson often would clash with other county officials including an instance where he arrested the judge and comptroller only for him to be put in jail for contempt by a federal judge.

The sheriff was also involved with the trial of Barry Lee Fairchild, a death row inmate who was executed for the murder of Greta Mason in 1983 despite claims of a force confession and questions over the physical evidence. Fairchild would recant his testimony, but after years of appeals and hearings, was executed in 1995.

Robinson would then be elected to serve as a congressman initially as a Democrat but would switch to the Republican party in his third term. He would leave Congress in 1991 and faced further controversy due to bouncing 996 checks from a bank account for U.S. House of Representatives.

He would later serve in different roles under Governor Mike Huckabee and would serve on the State Parole Board from 2000 to 2002.

Robinson died around 7 p.m. on July 10 at the Forrest City Medical Center, according to the St. Francis County coroner. He died due natural causes after having a brief illness.

We will update this article with more information as it becomes available.

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