Jury selection in Adrian Robles’ criminal case is scheduled to begin this week, after years of continuances since the April 15, 2010, slaying of Mesa resident Robert “Bobby I” Simpson at Arroyo Burro Beach.
Simpson, 44, died at the scene after being slashed in the neck. Friends and family have dedicated a permanent memorial to him at the park, and many have been attending court appearances in Robles’ case.
Robles, who was 20 years old at the time of his arrest, pleaded not guilty to counts of murder with special allegations and street terrorism after a preliminary hearing. He is being represented by defense attorney Steve Balash.
Authorities say Robles was on parole and an active member of the Westside street gang at the time of the crime.
According to testimony during the preliminary hearing, the stabbing came after an argument between Simpson and his friends, and Robles and three companions — Rudy Gallegos, Brittany Weiler and Vanessa Ochoa. It escalated into a physical fight between Simpson and Gallegos, after which Robles allegedly stabbed Simpson in the neck.
Simpson, an avid surfer who lived on the Mesa, had no gang affiliation and didn’t appear to have any relationship with Robles or Gallegos before the day of the stabbing.
Ochoa and Weiler have been charged in connection with the case, and Weiler pleaded no contest as an accessory to murder for driving the car away from the beach that day. Gallegos is a witness for the prosecution.
The case is scheduled to have pre-trial motions on Monday, and jury selection is set to begin Wednesday, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Hilary Dozer.