Former Economics professor Rafael Robb is "remorseful" for killing his wife, Ellen, Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Paul Tressler said yesterday, and Robb is not likely to commit another similar crime.
But Tressler also said he wanted to ensure that Robb would not interfere too much in the life of his teenage daughter, Olivia.
Balancing those sentiments, Tressler sentenced Robb to five to 10 years in prison and 10 years probation for bludgeoning Ellen Robb to death with a chin-up bar in December 2006.
The sentence is in the standard range for voluntary manslaughter, the charge Robb pleaded guilty to in November 2007.
Tressler also ordered Robb to pay for Olivia's grief counseling and to establish a trust for her college education.
Robb, who resigned from the University shortly after he pleaded guilty, will receive credit for time served in prison since he was arrested in January 2007. He will be first eligible for parole in 2012.
At the hearing, Robb, 58, was visibly emotional and apologized to his daughter and his dead wife's family.
"My only wish is that I could turn back the hands of time," Robb said.
The sentence was a compromise between the defense's request for a sentence less than the standard range of four-and-a-half to six years and the prosecution's push for a harsher sentence.
Defense attorney Frank DeSimone said he believed Robb should receive a short sentence because he acted in a moment of rage stemming from anger built up due to Ellen Robb's mental-health state.
The defense's witness, forensic psychologist William Russell, said medical records and interviews he conducted with Rafael Robb show that Ellen Robb was suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder and depression.
She had taken 27 different medications over the last few years of her life, many of which contained the mood-lifter serotonin.
As a result of the disorders, Russell said, Ellen Robb exhibited behaviors that frustrated Rafael Robb, such as hoarding boxes purchased online and continuing to bottle-feed Olivia until she was about 6 years old.
"Dr. Robb was basically storing up and storing up and storing up anger," Russell said.
At the time of Robb's guilty plea, he said he "just lost it" during a fight with Ellen over Olivia's upcoming vacation plans. He said he then grabbed the chin-up bar and started beating her.
Prosecutors, however, painted Robb as a lying, manipulative and controlling man.
Art and Gary Gregory, Ellen Robb's brothers, said Ellen told them sheProxy-Connection: keep-alive Cache-Control: max-age=0
ecame reclusive and depressed because Robb was controlling.
Art Gregory also presented a letter Robb sent to Olivia on Tuesday, in which he told her he would not send her holiday presents until she sent him a photograph of herself and her most recent report card.
Robb has also been trying to control the number and nature of Olivia's therapy sessions, said Art Gregory, who is now Olivia's guardian.
In the end, Tressler recognized points presented by both sides.
Tressler said Ellen Robb was "severely ill," which both prosecution and defense witnesses confirmed.
He said Robb killed his wife out of rage and that Robb was living in bad circumstances he could not alter for fear of losing custody of his daughter if he got divorced.
Tressler added that Robb's letter to Olivia convinced him that Robb should not receive a sentence lighter than the standard range because it demonstrated his controlling nature.
After the hearing, DeSimone said he was "satisfied" with the sentence and would not appeal.
Prosecutor Bruce Castor said he wanted Robb to receive a harsher sentence but called it a compromise.
Castor, the former district attorney, is now a county commissioner but was named a special prosecutor for the case.Comments powered by Disqus
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