By Matt Ward
Three tries and two judges later, a Pahrump murder suspect was again denied a chance to get out of jail eight months after shooting his daughter’s boyfriend to death.
Daniel Robbins was in court Monday, this time in front of District Court Judge Robert Lane. Robbins’ attorneys pleaded with the judge to set a bail amount for their client.
On Thursday, however, Lane issued a court order denying bail for Robbins, who is charged with first-degree murder among other felony charges.
Robbins is alleged to have shot and killed 21-year-old Chris Mundy during an early-morning confrontation in the front yard of Robbins’ home on Aug. 18. A 14-year-old boy with Mundy that morning was also shot. His injury was not life-threatening.
Robbins’ attorneys have maintained that their client acted in self-defense and deserves some leniency as such.
Lane’s order suggests that any leniency will be for a jury to decide at trial.
“The Court notes that it does not have the responsibility to weigh conflicting evidence, but only to insure the State has met its evidentiary burden for bail denial, and takes no position as to the Defendant’s actual guilt or innocence. The jury will eventually consider the evidence in this case and reach a decision; the Defendant’s self-defense theory will receive a full airing at that time,” the order reads.
The court order noted that while Robbins was denied bail on the murder charge, bail for his remaining felony charges was set.
Bail for two counts of assault with a deadly weapon was set at $25,000 each; bail for a single count of battery causing substantial bodily harm was set at $100,000 and a single count of battery with a deadly weapon drew a $150,000 bail.
Arnold Weinstock, one of Robbins’ Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys, said he could not comment when reached Thursday afternoon since he had not yet seen Lane’s order.
During the Monday hearing, Weinstock argued that Robbins, much like the Florida man now under arrest for the February murder of teenager Trayvon Martin, was simply acting in self-defense as authorized under a new “Stand Your Ground” law.
Nevada’s legislature passed a law that went into effect in October similar to Florida’s. The law simply allows citizens to defend themselves during life-threatening encounters without a requirement that they first attempt to retreat.
“I think this is a very defensible case. I’ve been practicing in Clark County for about 32 years, numerous murder cases, capital cases. Rarely have I ever had a case that I found as defensible as this is, especially in light of the current status, not only in the state of Nevada, but throughout the country, that’s the ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws,” Weinstock told the court on Monday.
When the attorney attempted to rehash the facts of the case as so far known, however, Lane cut the attorney off.
“Certainly, as I think the state would agree, this is an instance where at 1:30 in the morning a young man, although he had been warned numerous times to stay away from Mr. Robbins’ house and family … based on that I’ll submit to the court that bail is more than appropriate,” Weinstock concluded quickly.
Lane simply wished to sidestep arguing the facts of the case, particularly since they already had been made during motions filed in his court as well as during two previous hearings in front of Judge Kimberly Wanker as well as during a previous preliminary hearing in the case.
Lane seemed to want to avoid any outbursts in court — more than a dozen Robbins supporters, dressed in purple with yellow ribbons tacked to their shirts crowded one side of the courtroom — and so decided he would make his ruling outside the hearing.
Robbins’ case was originally set to go to trial in Wanker’s court, but that judge was forced to recuse herself a few weeks ago after she and some of her courtroom staff were caught discussing the case by a court recording system.
The recording system was accidentally left on after a February hearing, the second in which Robbins was denied bail.
During a routine follow-up, Robbins’ attorneys were given file copies of the court recording, including the portion which seemed to catch the judge making statements deriding Robbins’ character.
Two trial dates were scheduled Monday for Robbins, both nine days long. The earliest trial date was set in November. A back-up date was scheduled in April 2013.
Robbins will remain in police custody at least until then.