The Southern California man who once voiced the affable “Peanuts” TV cartoon character, Charlie Brown, is now facing new charges linked to making criminal threats, including writing letters from his jail cell in which he offered $50,000 to have someone kill the Sheriff of San Diego County.
Peter Robbins, 59, was supposed to be sentenced in a downtown San Diego courtroom Friday for violating terms of his probation.
In 2013, Robbins pleaded guilty to threatening his ex-girlfriend and stalking a doctor who performed breast-enhancement surgery on her.
Robbins served his time for those charges. Shortly after his release, he was arrested again for violating the conditions of his probation, including cutting off his GPS bracelet, drinking alcohol and failing to complete court-ordered classes. He has been in jail since late February 2015.
But, now, prosecutors say the troubled ex-actor has gotten himself into even more hot water.
At the courthouse Friday, San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Brenda Daly said Robbins is now being charged with four new felony counts associated with making criminal threats and vandalism.
Daly said those threats include writing letters from his jail cell to undisclosed recipients in which Robbins offered to pay $50,000 to have San Diego County Sheriff William “Bill” Gore killed.
“He has solicited and attempted to solicit many members through letters and writings to kill Sheriff Gore,” Daly told the judge. “He has attempted to intimidate many, many people. He has acted out in jail numerous times.”
The deputy DA said the counts also include the very public threats Robbins has made to one of the San Diego judges overseeing his case, Judge Robert O’Neill.
During a previous attempt at completing his sentencing hearing on June 5, Robbins had an angry, profanity-laden outburst in the courtroom, yelling at Judge O’Neill, “I hope you drop dead of a heart attack.”
He also screamed obscenities, tried to withdraw a guilty plea and told Judge O’Neill he wanted to fire his public defender. The judge stopped the proceedings, postponed the sentencing and granted Robbins’ attorneys a request that he be evaluated for mental competency.
Daly said Robbins is also being charged with vandalism for defacing his cell with “numerous writings” all over the walls, although she would not specify the content of those writings. She said he has caused more than $1,000 in damages to his cell.
The deputy DA said these new charges are just the latest examples of bizarre behavior from Robbins, who has been unpredictable – to say the least – since his original arrest in January 2013.
Before these new charges, Daly said Robbins was facing four years in prison for the probation violations. With the new counts, his time in prison could double.
“He is looking at a significant amount of time,” she said.
For now, a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 7 for the defendant.
While facing a judge Friday, Robbins appeared somber, and at times confused and frustrated.
The judge had to stop several times so Robbins could speak with his attorney when he needed clarification on what the judge was telling him.
During one of those brief breaks, Robbins decided to speak -- out of turn -- to the judge himself.
“I’ve been in jail without bail for eight months,” Robbins said. “Previously I was in jail for a bail amount of $550,000…”
The judge cut him off and suggested he stop talking, as the comments could be used against him.
The judge then advised Robbins to speak with his lawyer and only make comments through his lawyer before making any further remarks.
“Do you understand that?" the judge asked him.
“Yes, sir,” Robbins replied, putting his head down.
The judge also explained that the likelihood of him being released from jail anytime soon is “not very high.”
At the end of his court appearance, as the judge explained the new charges, the shackled Robbins
sat with his hands crossed, staring straight forward, sighing and softly crying.
Daly said she wasn’t surprised or preoccupied with Robbins’ behavior in court.
“His reactions in court have been all over the spectrum, so I try not to pay attention to what his reactions are,” she told reporters.
Given Robbins’ reputation for courtroom outbursts, she said deputies are always prepared to protect the courtroom when he has an appearance in court.
Robbins was first arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Ysidro in January 2013 for allegedly threatening and stalking his ex-girlfriend, Shawna Kern, and La Jolla plastic surgeon Lori Saltz.
Investigators said Robbins, a resident of Oceanside, began stalking Saltz after she performed a breast enhancement surgery on Kern.
Robbins and Kern broke up following her plastic surgery. Robbins then repeatedly demanded a refund from Saltz, stalking and threatening to kill the surgeon if she didn’t pay him back for his ex’s surgery, according to prosecutors. Robbins called Kern up to 37 times in a 24-hour period saying he would kill her and her son if she didn’t give back his dog and car.
In May 2013, Robbins was sentenced to jail time and ordered to enroll in a residential drug treatment program to tackle his problems with substance abuse. He was also sentenced to probation for five years. If he violated his probation, he stood to serve four years in prison.
To prevent that from happening, the judge had a few familiar words of advice for Robbins in court in May 2013: “If I can borrow a line from 'Peanuts,' sir, I'm going to grant [you] probation. If you adhere to those terms, you won’t go to prison. So, don’t be a blockhead.”
Robbins – who began his acting career at age 9 – was the voice of Charlie Brown for the iconic television specials "A Charlie Brown Christmas,” "It's a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and “A Boy Named Charlie Brown.”