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Professor as Suspect in Wife's Beating Death

 
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gozgals



Joined: 28 Jul 2005
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Location: A Place Called Vertigo

PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:13 pm    Post subject: Professor as Suspect in Wife's Beating Death Reply with quote

Cops Eye Ivy League Professor as Suspect in Wife's Beating Death
Friday, January 05, 2007

Ellen Robb.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — An Ivy League economics professor, who coolly carried a drink in one hand and his dead wife's coffin in the other, denied Thursday that he had anything to do with her murder.

Ellen Robb, 49, was found brutally beaten to death on Dec. 22 in the Pennsylvania home she shared with her husband, University of Pennsylvania Prof. Rafael Robb, 56. Police believe the murder was staged to look like a robbery.

"The person that attacked Mrs. Robb was trying to depersonalize, wipe her face off the map, and in fact he did that," said Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor.

"That doesn’t sound like any burglar to me, that sounds like Mrs. Robb was specific object of the attack."

Her husband raised eyebrows when he appeared Tuesday as a pallbearer at his wife's funeral, dressed somewhat informally, wearing a cap, and toting a drink in his free hand as he helped carry his wife's casket.

Forensics psychologists concluded Ellen Robb was beaten with a force much greater than necessary to kill her, something police have never seen in a burglary case.


Murder Mystery Castor added circumstantial evidence "very strongly" indicates that her husband had a role in the killing.

"He has both motive and opportunity, and I think right now he has a great deal of explaining to do," Castor said.

Mrs. Robb was in the process of filing for divorce from her husband at the time of her death, a fact investigators believe may be a motive in her murder.

When asked point-blank whether he killed his wife, Robb told FOX News' Rick Leventhal, "I did not kill her."

Castor said Mrs. Robb told several people that she had hired a divorce attorney and planned to move into her own townhouse on Jan. 1, Castor said. She also reportedly said she believed her husband had money hidden in overseas accounts.

Robb's attorney, Francis Genovese, didn't immediately return messages left at his office Wednesday afternoon. Genovese told KYW-TV in Philadelphia that his client was cooperating with investigators.

Prosecutors took DNA samples and fingerprints from Robb to compare them with evidence discovered after his wife's body was found in the kitchen of their house in upscale Upper Merion Township, just outside Philadelphia. A murder weapon has not been found.

The professor told investigators that he last saw his wife alive before driving to work on the morning of her death. He called police later that afternoon to say he had found her body when he returned home, but authorities are questioning why he didn't call 911 immediately after finding his wife's body.

When asked by 911 operators how he knew his wife was dead, Robb reportedly said, "Her head is cracked."

Robb, who is originally from Israel, has taught at the university for more than four years, according to a resume posted on the school's Web site. Robb reportedly was not scheduled to teach any classes during the upcoming semester.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments:
This case has much in common with many we have discussed on this board. Seems this trend will never stop with men trying to rid themselves of their wives especially when they are ready to divorce them. So sad.
I'm sure he is not just the suspect, he is the one who killed his wife.

Gozgals


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,241537,00.html?sPage=fnc.national/crime
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gozgals



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:07 pm    Post subject: Professor Charged with Murder Reply with quote

I just heard on Fox news the Professor has been charged with first and third degree murder in the death of his wife.

Will provide a link when one is located.

Gozgals
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gozgals



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:48 pm    Post subject: Link on murder- interesting explanations Reply with quote

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16543549/


Strong evidence against prof accused of murder
Filan: A circumstantial case can be just as good as a direct evidence case
NBC VIDEO


• Professor charged with wife's killing
Jan. 8: A University of Pennsylvania economics professor has been charged with beating his wife to death. WCAU-TV's John Blunt reports.
MSNBC

Updated: 1:31 p.m. CT Jan 9, 2007


Susan Filan
MSNBC Senior Legal Analyst

Wife murdered, husband arrested. Sound familiar? Only this time, it is an Ivy League professor from an upscale neighborhood who is being held without bail after allegedly bludgeoning his wife to death three days before Christmas. She was beaten beyond recognition.

The first degree murder case against Dr. Rafael Robb has been described as mainly a circumstantial case. Not to worry. A circumstantial case can be every bit as good as a direct evidence case.

What is circumstantial evidence? It is a fact from which you can infer another fact. The best way to understand it is by example: Last night you went to bed. It wasn’t snowing when you fell asleep and it wasn’t snowing when you woke up, but there is a foot of snow on the ground. You didn’t see it snow. No witnesses can testify they saw it snow. There aren’t any photos or videos of it snowing. There is no direct evidence that it snowed. After ruling out a snow-making machine, or a movie production crew capable of creating a snow scene, you have to conclude that it snowed. You infer one fact from another. There is no other reasonable or logical conclusion that you can draw. You don’t need direct evidence to prove something. In fact, the law makes no distinction between the weight given to direct or circumstantial evidence.

So what is the circumstantial evidence against the professor? First, he had a motive. His wife was about to divorce him, which was going to cost him a lot of money, and he anticipated a custody battle over their 12-year-old daughter.

Next, he gave police a weak alibi. Among the holes, he told police he bought fruit at a Philadelphia market, but the cashier working that day told detectives she was certain she hadn’t seen him.

Robb’s story gets worse. He told police when he came home he saw his wife dead, and instead of dialing 911 right away from his home phone, he went to his car and got his cell phone. He then called the 10-digit non-emergency number, rather than 911, presumably because he thought the call would not be recorded. It was.

This is a man who once called 911 when he had a nosebleed, so he knew the number.

The trauma to Ellen Robb’s head and face was so severe she was unrecognizable. Veteran homicide and forensic detectives who saw her body thought she had been shot, but when Robb called the police, he said “her head is cracked.” It wasn’t until after an autopsy proved otherwise that investigators learned she had been beaten, not shot. Only her killer could have known that.

Moreover, police concluded the “burglary” was staged. The broken glass in the back door leading into the kitchen had not been walked on. This was clearly not the point of entry. The killer left through the garage, which led out to the public street. That garage door had to be opened and shut manually. No burglar would leave that way. A burglar would sneak out the back door, the same way he or she entered. Plus, the wife’s blood was in the garage, indicating that her killer was so covered in her blood that it dripped off him while he walked around.

In addition, there was no evidence the burglar took anything from the home and the family dog that had run of the house was locked in the daughter’s bedroom, upstairs. What burglar would take the time to lock the family dog in an upstairs bedroom?

After Robb reported the broken glass to a glass company for repair, an undercover detective posed as the glass repair man. He told Robb that the police would become suspicious of his burglary complaint if he didn’t report anything stolen. Robb told the glass repair man that he couldn’t find his wife’s purse, but didn’t think any other valuables were missing. Several days later, he told the glass repair man that he had compiled a list of missing valuables to give police through his attorney.

The murder weapon has not yet been found, but in the garage where there were tools hung neatly on a wall, one tool is missing.

There was a history of domestic abuse. Ellen Robb once told her friend that she couldn’t attend a party because her husband gave her a black eye. She told another friend that if anything ever happened to her, consider her husband a prime suspect. While both of these statements are hearsay, it is still too early to know whether they will be ruled inadmissible.

I spoke with the district attorney, Bruce L. Castor, Jr., and he is confident about his case. He said that sometimes he likes a circumstantial evidence case even better than direct evidence cases -- a circumstantial case is like a jigsaw puzzle, and when you add all the little pieces together, you cannot help but see the whole picture. While Pennsylvania does have the death penalty, this is not a death penalty case, because it doesn’t fit the statutory requirements. But if it did, he would charge it as such.

Ironically, Dr. Robb was a professor of game theory, which is a “method of mathematically analyzing competitive situations in order to choose various strategies to maximize outcomes,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Looks like Robb’s strategy backfired.

© 2006 MSNBC Interactive

Comments:

Very interesting:
Quote:
Ironically, Dr. Robb was a professor of game theory, which is a “method of mathematically analyzing competitive situations in order to choose various strategies to maximize outcomes,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Looks like Robb’s strategy backfired.


He's just another creep that was looking for a way out of going through a divorce. Reminds me of Hans, except this time there is a body but this is a circumstantial evidence case too, but it looks like they nailed his butt. Good!

Gozgals
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gozgals



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Professor admitted in court today that he had a fight with this wife and he "lost it" and he beat his wife to death!!

More on this story if I find a link.

Source: Fox news
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gozgals



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:39 pm    Post subject: Link Reply with quote

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312891,00.html

<snip>
Ivy League Professor Admits Killing Wife as She Wrapped Gifts, Saying He 'Just Lost It'
Monday, November 26, 2007


Ellen Robb
NORRISTOWN, Pa. — A former Ivy League professor pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter for killing his wife as she wrapped Christmas presents last year, telling a judge he "just lost it" during an argument.

Rafael Robb, once a tenured economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, faces a likely prison sentence of 4 1/2 to seven years for bludgeoning his wife, Ellen, on Dec. 22.

Robb, 57, said Monday that he got into an argument with his wife about a trip she was taking with their daughter and whether they would be returning in time for the daughter to return to school.

"We started a discussion about that. The discussion was tense," Robb said. "We were both anxious about it. We both got angry. At one point, Ellen pushed me. ... I just lost it."

Ellen Robb, 49, was beaten to death in the kitchen of their home in Upper Merion Township, outside Philadelphia. Partly wrapped Christmas presents were nearby.

"It's a classic heat-of-passion killing," said Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor, who offered Robb the chance to plea guilty to the manslaughter charge.
<snip>
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jane



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know. Even if his wife did push him - to bludgeon her to death...? Then to say, "I just lost it". Losing it is yelling or being rude or ridiculous - not bludgeoning someone to death!
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gozgals



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:36 am    Post subject: Update- easy sentence for killing Reply with quote

This professor seems to have gotten such an easy sentence for getting rid of his wife. Justice did not work in this case.


(fair use)
Ex-professor gets 5-10 years in wife's slaying
Wed., Nov. 19, 2008
Associated Press at CNN


Snip
NORRISTOWN, Pa. - A former Ivy League professor was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison Wednesday for fatally beating his wife with a chin-up bar while she wrapped Christmas presents in their kitchen.

Rafael Robb, 58, said in court that there was no justification for his "horrific misdeed."

Snip


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27810799/
Click link for rest of story


I can't believe this guy calls this a "Horrific Misdeed" beating and killing his wife to death. What a evil man. I think he got off easy getting a 5 to 10 year sentence. He probably will get out of prison and kill again.

Goz


Last edited by gozgals on Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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benn



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a famous Professor at Stanford University accused of killing, his wife in the 1930s. At the last time I looked at the story the Professor went through four trials. He was once on death row, but then released. I do not remember if he did any prison time or not.

His last name was Lamson. At least one book was written about him, I forget who wrote it. During one of his jailings, awaiting trial, he was transferred from his jail by the guards because there was a lynch mob in the area, near San Jose, CA that was out to lynch two men who had killed a kidnap victim. I am going to have to look this all up again, if I get time. His name was Lamson.

benn Praise the Lord. The best thing that we can do is to praise the Lord. The Lord likes to be praised. benn
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gozgals



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting story Benn.
Maybe you can share more about this guy. Hope you can locate the book.


Benn States:
Quote:
There was a famous Professor at Stanford University accused of killing, his wife in the 1930s. At the last time I looked at the story the Professor went through four trials. He was once on death row, but then released. I do not remember if he did any prison time or not.


I'm curious to know why he was released and if he did any prison time at all. Would be interested to know more of his story. I am hoping his case was not dismissed Benn.

have a good weekend
Always
Goz
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benn



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In looking at the case of the Professor probably murdering his wife I read this sentence coming from someone close to the crime and it matched up with me as a statement that could be made about former Congressman Gary Condit and Chandra Levy.

Quote:
"He has both motive and opportunity, and I think right now he has a great deal of explaining to do," Castor said.


Hello goz, I have read your last message and I think I have found sufficient information to post this message, and maybe we can all look back at the Professor Lamson case. It may take more than one message to bring out the total news coverage and other remembrances of the Lamson case. I was in grammar school and living with my parents in Menlo Park at the time. I do not remember hearing a lot about the crime, but I don't know if we had a radio then, or if we even subscribed to a newspaper. Menlo Park is right across a creek from the Stanford University Campus and Palo Alto. I forget the exact distance from San Jose, not very far.

Stanford was the university that President Herbert Hoover attended and he had a home there. I think that one of my mother's brothers and my dad did some floor work once in Hoover's home. I do not think that he was still in office then. My uncle was attending Stanford then, and he had a floor buffer that he used to make some income to pay his way through Stanford.

All right this is what I have found about the case. It should get us started, or me started.

I am going to edit this message, goz, and then I think I will start the Lamson Case information in a followup message to this one. benn
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benn



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have one link from the Lamson case. If it is not enough I will post more.

http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2000/janfeb/articles/lamson.html

Quote:

Was It Murder?

In 1933, Allene Lamson was bludgeoned to death in her campus home. Or did she slip and fall in her bathroom? Her husband's trial -- and his journey from Faculty Row to death row -- gripped the nation.

by Bernard Butcher


I am going to reread a lot of this stuff myself. It has been a long time since I read any of it. benn
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gozgals



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the article Benn. I can't tell if he did the murder or not but I find it hard to believe she slipped and fell in the bathtub and obtained all those injuries. He certainly had his share of trials which is probably why he was released. thanks again, so very interesting. I really did enjoy it and the story kept my attention.

Quote:
The mystery of Allene Lamson's death was left unresolved. But as the sensational case faded into history, a troubling question remained: was David Lamson a violent master of deceit or the tragic victim of overzealous prosecutors?


Gives one something to ponder over.

Goz
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benn



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It often does not hurt to do a little research, and here is what I found in the Lamson case. If we look at the last sentence of the below quoted paragraph we see that "Judge Syer sentenced him to hang at San Quentin State Prison within 90 days, subject to appeal."


"""Take it on the chin, kid," he whispered in Lamson's ear. Sitting behind the defendant, sisters Margaret Lamson and Hazel Thoits gasped as the foreman read the unanimous verdict: guilty of murder in the first degree. David sat impassively as the jury was polled. Judge Syer sentenced him to hang at San Quentin State Prison within 90 days, subject to appeal."""

I keep saying here at Justice for Chandra that I don't think that we had so many death penalty related crimes in years past because there really was a death sentence then. In another message I will look up the Burton Abott case that came in the late 1950s and see how long the Abott case and appeal lingered on before Abbott was executed. Not very long.

I do not like the death penalty, not that it is not necessary but because I am thinking of more ways to try to prevent crime, and thus keeping a lot of people out of painful situaions, either as becoming murderers, or kidnappers, or committing other serious death penalty crimes. My plan does not only encourage people not to become serious criminals but it also looks forward to keeping so many people from being murdered.
It is impossible for any such plan to use physical force to encourage better behaviour from all of us, so my solution, or attempt at a solution, is spiritual, and also depending upon the good offices of God. I will start that in my next message, so if I make a typo somewhere I do not lose so many words all at once. Siesta time for a little bit. benn
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gozgals



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:44 pm    Post subject: Benn Reply with quote

Benn:

Please start another thread for this case you will print please so it is not under the professor's family thread. Thanks.

"In another message I will look up the Burton Abott case that came in the late 1950s and see how long the Abott case and appeal lingered on before Abbott was executed. Not very long. "

It will keep our cases seperate and not confuse the threads if you know what I mean.

Always
Goz
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