Wednesday, June 29 , 2016, 3:04 am | Fog/Mist 61º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube
 
 
 
 

Local News

Jury Finds Adrian Robles Guilty of Murder in 2010 Stabbing

He faces life in prison after being convicted of fatally stabbing Robert Burke Simpson, 44, during a fight

A Santa Barbara jury convicted 23-year-old Adrian Robles of first-degree murder Monday for the fatal stabbing of Robert Burke Simpson at Arroyo Burro Beach two years ago.

After deliberating less than a day, a jury in Santa Barbara Superior Court also found Robles guilty of special circumstances related to the murder – personal use of a knife and committing the murder while a member of and for the benefit of a criminal street gang – and street terrorism for his participation in the Santa Barbara Westside gang.

The verdicts, which were read in the courtroom of Judge Brian Hill, came after two months of trial.

Jurors heard closing arguments and began their deliberations on Friday.

Both Robles and Simpson were at the beach with friends that day, and the stabbing came after a verbal and physical altercation between members of the two groups, according to testimony.

Hill scheduled Robles’ sentencing for Feb. 26, when he will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Both Chief Deputy District Attorney Hilary Dozer and defense attorney Steve Balash were surprised by the fast verdict, especially after two months of trial.

“When a jury has a clear avenue of evidence that points beyond a reasonable doubt to guilt, apparently they can come to that decision more quickly than I expected,” Dozer said.

The defense argued that Rudy Gallegos, Robles’ friend with him at the beach that day who reportedly fought with Simpson, was the stabber.

Authorities even detained Gallegos and interviewed him before arresting Robles.

“In a case like this, when you recognize that there is someone else the jury could focus on, and the person the jury would be focusing on is someone law enforcement focused on, it makes it a more difficult task to make the jury focus on the right person,” Dozer said.

Gallegos’ testimony was “indispensable,” he said.

Gallegos received no plea deal in connection with this case – the two women involved were both charged with accessory to murder.

“There’s nothing. Rudy Gallegos is getting on with his life and I wish him well.”

Testifying against a fellow gang member for a serious case like this could have serious – even deadly – repercussions, he noted.

Most of the gang violence in Santa Barbara is gang-on-gang, which made this case unique.

However, “murder is murder,” and people should be concerned with public safety regardless of who the crimes involve, Dozer said.

He thinks the most important piece of physical evidence was the spot of Simpson’s blood on the hood of the getaway car next to Robles’ palm print, Dozer said.

He called it a “calling card.”

The case would have been much more difficult without physical evidence like this, just working off of various eyewitness statements, he said.

On hearing the verdict Monday, Balash said he intends to file some motions relating to this case.

“It was a challenge, obviously,” Balash said.

He was assigned to the case after the Public Defender’s Office had a conflict of interest.

“There was a lot of evidence and, needless to say, I think everyone was surprised by the quickness of the verdict,” he said.

“We’ll keep fighting,” he said.

“In order to reach this verdict, they would have to ignore evidence, such as the testimony of Ed Maginnis, who said that stabbing occurred 20 seconds or so after, the guy was still on the ground,” Balash said. “I don’t know. Obviously, the judge asked them several times if they had had enough time to deliberate, and they said yes.”

The court reporter had prepared to read back the testimony of four witnesses, but was never asked to, he added.

Simpson’s family and friends have attended the trial almost every day, but many couldn’t be present in time for the verdict to be read.

Robles’ mother started to cry as “guilty” was read by the court clerk.

There will be a hearing on Friday in Hill’s courtroom to determine whether Robles’ 2008 conviction for witness intimidation counts as a strike under the Three Strikes Law.

However, Dozer said the results won’t affect sentencing for the murder, since it already includes a life sentence.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >