On December 20, 2017, Robin Transue pled guilty to Solicitation to commit Aggravated Assault, graded as a Felony of the first degree and Statutory Sexual Assault, graded as a Felony of the second degree. Her husband, Keith Transue, pled guilty to Criminal Coercion, graded as a Misdemeanor of the second degree.
The case began after a complaint was made by Richard Warner, a friend of Mr. and Mrs. Transue, claiming that Robin Transue was trying to get him to kill her husband.
Detectives Robert Miller and Ryan Venneman of the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department took Mr. Warner’s statement and then contacted First Assistant District Attorney Michael Mancuso to work a consensual wire intercept of Mr. Warner’s conversations with Mrs. Transue. Plans were made for Warner to meet Mrs. Transue in the hopes that her plot to kill her husband could be captured on tape.
Several meetings did take place; during which Mrs. Transue freely talked about arranging for her husband’s murder. All kinds of potential death scenarios were discussed. For instance, the idea of tampering with Mr. Transue’s car so he would have an accident on the way to work was brought up by Robin. She also told Warner that she knew of a medication which would fake a heart attack. She thought they could get the medicine and use it to poison Mr. Transue. She also discussed setting up a staged suicide by slipping Mr. Transue a fatal overdose of Valium. Mrs. Transue told Warner that her husband had a history of depression which could be used as the motive for a suicide.
Robin Transue was pressing Warner to help her in the plot to kill her husband. She was adamant that her husband needed to die. She had a whole new future picked out; a future that could only happen if Mr. Transue was dead. Mr. Warner talked with Robin about why she wanted her husband dead. It turned out that the motive for the solicited murder was also the reason why criminal charges would be filed against Keith Transue.
Several years earlier, Mrs. Transue had sex on multiple occasions with a fourteen year old boy. Mr. Transue had found out about the sex. However, instead of reporting the matter as suspected child abuse; which, as a police officer, Mr. Transue was required to do, he instead held it over her head. He used her crime to prevent her from trying to divorce him. He would later tell a fellow police officer that he had dirt on his wife that he would use if she tried to leave him. As problems in the marriage continued to mount, Robin became more desperate. She had looked up the statute of limitations for her sexual crimes and realized the time wasn’t close to running out.
Robin continued to plot to kill her husband. She would tell Mr. Warner that they could make her husband’s death look like a hunting accident. She offered to bring Warner a gun and ammo and to direct him to the areas her husband would hunt. After hearing one of the last recorded meetings the following summary was written by the detectives:
Robin is heard telling Warner that she took Keith to the Psychologist and she made it look like she was a concerned and a caring wife. She said: " It would not take much for us to make it look like a suicide". She goes on saying that she has been telling friends that they are working on their marriage and it's a good possibility they will get back together, making it look like she cares. She explains that they were at the Crossing Outlet Stores and she would hold his hand and each time she saw a camera she would hug him to make her look good. She goes into detail on how she needs to test the potency and see how Valium will dissolve and taste. Robin goes into details on plans to have Warner use a rifle that she supplies him, to kill her husband and make it look like a hunting accident and continued talking into great length on DNA, and not leaving fingerprints and evidence and destroying the gun after. Robin asked Warner what caliber rifle he would need, and Warner told her any hunting gun. Robin then remarked about being upset about destroying a "perfectly good hunting rifle" after he is killed.
She told Warner that's it's "down to the wire, I have to do something" and then discussed about plan "C" if plan " A" or "B' didn't work. She stated if the house caught fire with him inside, it would be "priceless and fantastic" and she could get about a quarter million dollars from the insurance company. She told Warner that she does not need all that and will share that with him. At the end of the meeting, she said she will try and get the gun from her husband’s gun safe and meet him on Monday at 9:00 pm.
After discussing the findings of the investigation and concerns for the safety of Keith Transue, it was decided that Robin Transue should be charged with criminal solicitation to commit murder as well as the sex crimes she committed in the past. Part of that process required the detectives notifying Keith of the threat to his life.
Further investigation was conducted by County Detective Wendy Serfass into Mr. Transue’s failure to report his wife’s sexual assault on the minor boy. Detective Serfass is trained in the reporting requirements of law enforcement officers to report sexual abuse allegations that they are aware of. Detective Serfass spoke with members from the Bushkill Township Police Department, where Transue was employed as an officer. She also interviewed the sexual assault victim and his father, both corroborated the crime. As a result of Detective Serfass’s investigation, criminal charges were filed against Mr. Transue for the failure to report the sexual assault, as well as the blackmail-type of charge known as Criminal Coercion; where Mr. Transue was using his wife’s crime to keep her from leaving or divorcing him. This, in turn, was essentially the motive for Robin soliciting Keith’s murder.
The case was well investigated by Detectives Miller, Venneman, and Serfass. That investigation’s effectiveness is shown by how early into the process both Mr. and Mrs. Transue decided to enter guilty pleas. The case was ably prosecuted by ADA Michael Rakaczewski.
Finally, we would commend the efforts of Mr. Warner whose cooperation with the authorities likely prevented a homicide and also brought to light a sordid history of sexual assault and criminal coercion.
Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for March 20, 2018, at 9:00 AM.