Sunday, February 18 , 2018, 11:01 pm | Fair 52º


Local News

Robles Gets Life in Prison Without Parole for 2010 Slaying

Gang member was convicted of first-degree murder for fatally stabbing Robert Burke Simpson at Arroyo Burro Beach

Superior Court Judge Brian Hill on Tuesday sentenced Adrian Robles to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2010 murder of Robert Burke Simpson of Santa Barbara.

Robles was found guilty of first-degree murder and gang-related crimes by a jury in December for brutally stabbing Simpson in the neck at Arroyo Burro Beach.

After Hill announced the sentence, Simpson’s family and friends breathed sighs of relief.

Robles’ attorney, Steve Balash, argued for a new trial, but was denied.

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 trial testimony.

Balash has argued that the stabber wasn’t Robles but his friend and gang associate at the beach with him that day, Rudy Gallegos.

The jury also found Robles guilty of personal use of a knife, 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.

Hill said “there is no doubt in this court’s mind that the jury reached the right result.”

A sentence like this will hopefully send a message to other people contemplating engaging in criminal activity, he noted.

Simpson’s mother, Susan, and brother Michael, addressed the court before Hill handed down the sentence, and asked for the maximum prison term possible. For almost three years, the family has been dealing with the death of a son, brother, and best friend.

“Losing my son to such a despicable, cowardly act” has had a devastating effect on the family, Susan said.

Her son Rob was a true friend and loved people from all walks of life, she said. He wasn’t an instigator, but would never back down from standing up for what he believed in, if provoked, she said.

She asked Hill to give Robles the maximum possible penalty and never let him be a free man again, “so he can continue living the life he has chosen in the environment that suits him.”

“He knew exactly what he was doing,” she said. “This was not just a stabbing – this was an execution.”

Michael, Simpson’s brother, also asked for the maximum penalty. By sentencing Robles to prison for life, he can never again threaten the citizens of Santa Barbara, he said. 

“Robles murdered my best friend, confidante, and someone I can turn to for advice and support,” Michael said. 

Hill sentenced Robles to life without the possibility of parole, plus five years for having a prior violent felony conviction, for the murder charge.

Robles also was sentenced to 12 years for other charges and related enhancements, which he will serve first.

Hill ordered Robles to pay restitution to Simpson’s mother and brother for their transportation costs to the courtroom – where they watched the two-month trial – and restitution for counseling, funeral and burial expenses, and $10,000 in standard victim restitution ordered by the penal code.

Susan Simpson asked for a deeper examination of the gang problem, and Hill agreed wholeheartedly with her.

There are many young Hispanic men in prison due to gang involvement, which is “a loss to their victims, it’s a loss to their families and it’s a loss to themselves,” Hill said.

“We need a higher level of communication and political response in addressing this as a serious social problem causing grief and hurt in this community.”

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.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

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.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

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 >