By sean i. mills Staff writer
Sometime after his last parole hearing in December 2008, during which he said he would "refuse" his early release from state prison, convicted rapist Robert W. Blainey decided that he wanted out after all. He signed release papers promising to behave.
For two years, state officials said Blainey was a model parolee, fulfilling all of his duties as both a former inmate and as a registered Level 3 sex offender.
Until this month.
Police accuse Blainey of targeting and raping the murdered owner of the Davis Motel on Nov. 3.
Authorities said Blainey, age 45, skipped out on a meeting with his parole officer on Sept. 26, and hid around the city of Utica, eluding law enforcers for more than a month. Police said Blainey eventually found an empty room at the Davis Motel on Herkimer Road and squatted for two days before he entered the home of motel-owner Linda Turner. She was found strangled.
For the second time in his life, authorities said Blainey returned to violent, sexual crime after being released on parole from state prison.
Blainey himself knew it might happen.
"Society is safer. Society is safer with me in prison," Blainey said at parole board hearing on Dec. 16, 2008. "I can sit here and tell you people I’m not going to do it, I’m not going to do it, but it’s not going to make a bit of difference. You got your opinion. In your opinion and your eyes I am a low-life rapist, which is true, and I’m not going anywhere."
In that same hearing, Blainey told the parole board, "I will refuse the CR (conditional release) date at all costs."
However, by his release on May 8, 2009, Blainey changed his mind.
"In order for him to go out on conditional release, he would have to sign a conditions of supervision document," laying out all of the conditions and requirements of his parole, said Peter K. Cutler, director of public affairs for the state Department of Corrections. "Clearly between then (the parole board) and the time he was CR’d, he changed his mind. Had he not, he could have stayed in and we would have held him."
Blainey was serving a 12 to 25 year sentence for raping two adult women in Madison County in the late 1980s. He was released early on good behavior, which knocks off about a third of the maximum prison sentence. Had he not signed off on his early release, Cutler said the state would have held Blainey until his 25 years were up in 2019.
The attacks on the two adult women occurred while Blainey was on parole for attempting to rape an 8-year-old girl in 1984. He served three years in prison before being released on parole in April 1988. Then in November 1988, he was arrested for the attacks on the two women, one of which occurred in the woman’s bedroom, the other involved Blainey dragging the woman into a wooded area, according to parole records.
When questioned about the attacks at the December 2008 parole hearing, Blainey said he had "not a clue" why he would rape the two women. When asked why he chose the two women, and the 8-year-old girl, Blainey answered "opportunity" but did not explain himself.
Blainey told the parole board that he considered himself a threat to society.
"Something changed his mind, I don’t know what," Cutler said. Blainey signed off on his May 2009 release on parole.
"For two years, he’s reporting regularly and maintaining all the conditions of his parole," Cutler said. Immediately upon his release from prison, Blainey met face-to-face with a parole officer in Utica every week, but by this fall, Cutler said it had been pushed back to every other week.
Utica Police Chief Mark Williams said Blainey was also meeting the requirements of a registered Level 3 sex offender, which required that he check in with his local police department every 90 days to confirm his address. Williams said Blainey had been making all of his 90-day appointments, the last one being in August. Blainey’s last registered address was 907 Rutger St.
As a registered Level 3 sex offender, Blainey is required to have his picture taken once a year. Utica Police Sgt. Steve Hauck said Blainey last had his picture taken in May, at which time he was clean-shaven and had very little hair — unlike his most recent mugshot, where he has a graying beard and a full head of hair.
The May photo "doesn’t look like how he looks now," Hauck stated.
Updated pictures are not required as part of parole unless there is a physical change, such as a tattoo, Cutler said.
After two years of fulfilling all of his requirements, Cutler said Blainey skipped a parole appointment on Sept. 26. A warrant was then issued for his arrest on Sept. 27, and he was listed as one of the state’s 100 Most Wanted Fugitives.
On Oct. 26, Blainey was featured as ‘Fugitive of the Week’ by the U.S. Marshals’ Regional Fugitive Task Force. The Marshals passed Blainey’s information and an outdated mugshot to the media and local law enforcers, where it was widely spread throughout Utica and Oneida County.
The mugshot was taken in May 2009 upon his release from state prison, officials said. It featured a bald and clean-shaven Blainey. Cutler said another mugshot featuring a full head of hair was available in the state records, but it was grainy and black and white. Upon his arrest on Monday, Nov. 7, Blainey sported a full head of hair and a graying beard.
Calls to the U.S. Marshals Service to determine why the 2-year-old mugshot was used were not returned.
In the time between the missed parole meeting on Sept. 26 and early November, Utica police said Blainey was squatting in an abandoned house in west Utica. Eventually he was "wandering" into north Utica, where he found an empty room at the Davis Motel sometime around Nov. 1. By then, Blainey’s information and his mugshot were already circulating in the Utica area.
"He was not a guest, but he was hiding out there," said Utica Chief Williams. "It was my understanding that he found an open room."
Neither motel-owner Linda Turner, age 68, or any of the other guests at the Davis Motel knew Blainey was there, Williams said.
Turner’s body was found by an employee at about 9 a.m. Nov. 3 inside her residence on the motel property. Sometime prior to that discovery, police said Blainey entered the residence and sexually assaulted Turner. She was strangled to death, police said.
"I think this was an opportunity he waited for and then entered the house," Williams said. Police declined to say if Blainey was lying in wait inside the residence waiting for Turner to return home, or if she was already inside when Blainey entered.
"It looks like he targeted Linda Turner," Williams said.
Police said Blainey took some cash and stole Turner’s 2001 Toyota Solara after she was dead. He drove south, and Williams said Blainey "was trying to get out of Utica as fast as he could after this." Blainey was eventually pulled over Monday evening, Nov. 7, near Montoursville, Pennsylvania. The state police who stopped him had the ‘be on the look out’ information on Blainey, and took him into custody.
Blainey is now in county jail without bail on the parole violation. Prosecutors said he will be held on that charge while the murder case is presented to a county grand jury, most likely in early December. Blainey has not yet been charged in connection with Turner’s death, but Williams said he may face charges of first-degree murder, rape and robbery.