DA: Man Hid in Bushes before Killing Woman

Michael Robles pleads not guilty to the kidnapping and murder of Kathy Scharbarth

By Lauren Steussy and Steve Luke
|  Wednesday, Nov 30, 2011  |  Updated 11:35 PM PDT
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Kathy Scharbarth Case: Images

Steven Luke reports

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DA: Man Hid in Bushes before Killing Woman

A neighbor told District Attorney Kelly Mok that Robles was hiding in the bushes near Scharbarth's house the night before she went missing. When the neighbor confronted him, he jumped a wall and fled into a nearby canyon.
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The man accused of kidnapping and strangling to death his ex-girlfriend pled not guilty in an arraignment hearing Wednesday.

On Thanksgiving night, Carlsbad woman Kathy Scharbarth went missing, and was found strangled to death the next day.

A neighbor told District Attorney Kelly Mok that Robles was hiding in the bushes near Scharbarth’s house the night before she went missing. When the neighbor confronted him, he jumped a wall and fled into a nearby canyon.

The DA claimed in the hearing that Robles returned at about 11 p.m. when Scharbarth was walking her boyfriend to his car. While she was outside saying goodbye, Robles snuck into her house to wait for her, Mok said.

"At that time the defendant strangled the victim to death, after murdering the victim inside her home while her daughter slept in an upstairs bedroom, the defendant went through extensive efforts to dispose of the victim’s body,” Mok said.

“He ultimately transported the victim to a rural area in Fallbrook, dug a shallow grave and buried the victim in Fallbrook," Mok added.

She claimed that after burying the body, Robles joined his friends for Thanksgiving dinner. The next day, she added, he made plans to fly to Mexico.

A judge said Robles’ maximum sentence will be life without parole. He may also receive the death penalty, if he is found guilty of lying in wait, which Mok claimed he did.

Robles and his attorneys denied all the allegations.

The county's district attorney Bonnie Dumanis issued a statement following the hearing.

“This is a particularly disturbing case of domestic violence that the family had to hear about on Thanksgiving Day and the victim’s birthday,” Dumanis said. “Our office does not tolerate domestic violence. We will pursue justice for the victim’s family in hope that we can return a measure of peace to their lives.”

Scharbarth filed a restraining order against Robles on November 16, after what she described as a long history of violence.

She wrote in the restraining order report that Robles threatened to beat her “new friend to a bloody pulp” if he ever saw them together again.

“When things do not go his way, he is erratic, forceful, badgering and threatening. I am scared for my safety,” she wrote in the restraining order.

She recalled numerous occasions in which Robles stalked her or her 13-year-old daughter.

“A few months ago, he stalked my daughter at softball practice,” she wrote. “Her coaches alerted me, and we were just more observant of our surroundings.”

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