Murdered teen’s family asking for public’s help to keep felon behind bars

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The man who brutally murdered Rachel Ann Robertson, 16, in 1991 could be released from prison in November. Robertson’s family is now is shock as convicted murderer David Tinsley has only served 22 years of his initial 50-year sentence.

“They always say it’s someone [whom] you know, usually someone in the family, someone close, and it was,” said Shannon Robertson, Robertson’s sister.

Rachel Ann Robertson was strangled to death by Tinsley, the oldest sister’s ex-boyfriend. The family said he later apologized in court simply saying he was drunk and on drugs the night of the murder.

killerAccording to court documents, Tinsley went to the apartment where his ex-girlfriend lived, but only Rachel was home.

“There was some broken glass and some blood,” said April Gulotta, the victim’s sister and Tinsley’s ex-girlfriend.

Gulotta said she had broken up with Gulotta and was seeing someone else. He had apparently asked her to go out with him at her work, but she denied his request.

“I’m sure they feel like they’ve been slugged in the gut by the system not only because the man didn’t get his just punishment, initially, but also because the legal system is letting him out before he should be let out,” said Larry Sells, the former Marion County Deputy Prosecutor who was assigned to the case.

Sells said the evidence was lacking so Tinsley escaped the death penalty or life behind bars. They would have needed to prove another violent crime was committed.

Tinsley will have served 22 years in November. His earliest possible release date is November 15, 2013. Since his sentence is calculated as 50 years, with day for day credit for good behavior, he starts with a 25-year executed sentence.

According to the Indiana Department of Correction, Tinsley also earned 365 days credit time for completion of an Associate’s Degree in General Arts in 2008 and 730 days credit time for a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies in 2009, which earned him three years of earned credit.

Tinsley had one conduct violation while in prison for tampering or possessing tools to alter locks or devices, for which he served a period of segregation time.

“We can’t keep him forever, unfortunately, but he definitely shouldn’t get out early,” said Sells.

“I saw the pictures of Rachel, of the crime scene. Her body was badly bruised all over,” said Debra Robertson, the victim’s step-mother.

Robertson’s family with the help of her childhood friend, Jason Green, are now collecting signatures for a petition that asks that Tinsley serve more time in prison.

“She used to always say she didn’t want to grow old. She didn’t,” said Gulotta.

“She was just a little tiny thing. She was just a good girl. She was a good girl,” said Shannon Robertson.

Almost all offenders sentenced to the Indiana Department of Corrections can earn credit time against their sentence for completion of certain types of programming, including educational, substance abuse, vocational, and faith and character-based programming, among others.  This is in addition to the good time credit an offender can earn through good behavior. According to state law, the most credit time an offender can earn for programming is four years. Certain ‘credit restricted felons,’ who are typically convicted child molesters, cannot earn any such credit time.

Tinsley was also sentenced to 15 years behind bars for the sexual assault of another woman. He was out on bond at the time of the 1991 murder.

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