By Matt Ward
“I didn’t know you, and I am so sorry. I tried to stop you. I told you to get off our property,” jurors heard the 911 recording of a hysterical woman, captured on tape apologizing to the young man her husband had just shot and killed.
It was just after 1:30 a.m. in the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 2011. Chris Mundy, 21, sat in a borrowed car in the driveway of a Pahrump home on Benson Circle, bleeding from a bullet wound to his neck.
“I feel a pulse. Chris! Chris! Stay with us Chris! Oh my God. … He’s bleeding from the head. The side of the head,” Kathie Robbins is heard telling the county police dispatcher.
Prosecutors on the opening day of the Daniel Robbins murder trial played the 911 call before calling their first witnesses.
The recording provided a chilling glimpse into the horror of that night, when a feud online exploded into a shocking act that killed one man, injured another and sent two families reeling in its aftermath.
Daniel Robbins, a former slot machine technician with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, sat stoically in District Court Thursday as attorneys and the witnesses relived the events of that night in front of 12 jurors and two alternates.
Deputy District Attorney Tierra Jones started off the trial with her opening argument, a concise rendition of the events leading up to Mundy’s shooting death.
Mundy was killed after driving to the Robbins home in an attempt to soothe what had become a torrent of hateful back and forth messages between himself and his girlfriend’s parents. His girlfriend, then 19-year-old Jennifer Robbins, had called Mundy from jail that night and asked him to retrieve her car and belongings from her parents’ house.
“Chris attempts to reach out to his girlfriend’s mother, Kathie Robbins, on Facebook. He sends Kathie a Facebook friend request. Kathie responds to that friend request with animosity, foul language and harsh words to Chris. But Chris ignores that and he goes and he doesn’t respond. A couple of days after that, you are going to hear testimony that Jennifer called Chris from jail and Jennifer told Chris, ‘I need somebody to go over and get my car and get my things from my parents’ house.’ And Chris, being her boyfriend, agrees to do this for her. In the process of Chris attempting to get this done, he again contacts Kathie Robbins on Facebook,” Jones told the jury. “He sends Kathie Robbins a message and again Chris is met with swearing, name calling and animosity.”
Later in Jones’ opening, the prosecutor describes how Daniel Robbins gets involved in the online confrontation.
“Now the defendant joins in the Facebook conversation. The defendant gets out of bed, gets on his own Facebook page and he starts making a confrontation with Chris on Facebook, he’s engaging in the name calling, foul language and animosity on Facebook. Chris says to Kathie and the defendant that he’s on his way over to their house. He’s in Pahrump and he’s on his way over to their house. Kathie responds and tells him, ‘I will have the police waiting for you.’ But, that is not what happened. When Chris arrived at that house, the police were not waiting for Chris.
“An angry, enraged Daniel Robbins was waiting for Chris when he got there,” Jones told the court.
Mundy was indeed in Pahrump that night, though he and his girlfriend — he and Jennifer had been dating only two months before the incident; they met at a local nursing home where they both worked — had recently moved to Las Vegas. Mundy was at his best friend’s house along with another friend named Donald Cleveland and a then 14-year-old Pablo Flores. Cleveland and Flores told the jury they witnessed Mundy communicating via the Internet the night of the shooting and when Mundy decided to go over to the Robbins home, both testified that they had a bad feeling about it. Mundy went anyway.
Cleveland testified that his friend was so upset about engaging in a verbal dispute with his new girlfriend’s parents that he wanted to smooth the fracas over.
“He just wanted to go over there and squash it,” he said. “I figured he was doing everything he always did, he avoided conflict. That’s what he did. He wanted to make peace.”
Asked whether he’d tried to stop Mundy, Cleveland said he had mixed feelings about it.
“I kind of wanted him to, but also no. I wanted him to so that everything was done and over with. But at the same time I was kind of worried. His mind was set, about going over there and making peace,” he said.
Mundy took Flores with him that night to act as a witness. Peace is not what they found.
The defense case
Daniel Robbins is hoping the jury believes two things: First, that the gun he held to Mundy’s neck that night accidentally discharged; second, that Mundy’s death would never have occurred if the young man had just heeded the multiple warnings he and his wife, and even his own girlfriend, gave him about not going to the family’s home.
Daniel Robbins’ defense attorney Arnold Weinstock summed up the matter in his opening on Thursday.
“The testimony will tell you again, and in some salty language, that Daniel Robbins made it clear he was not welcomed at their house, not to come. If he does come, Daniel Robbins will do what he needs to do. And you will see Facebook messages from Christopher Mundy basically saying, and I’m paraphrasing, Christopher Mundy saying ‘I don’t care, you don’t scare me,’” Weinstock told the jury.
The attorney asked jurors to note that Mundy showed up in a car, late at night, pulled into the Robbins driveway and sat there with the headlights on and car running as the events unfolded.
“You couldn’t see who was in the car. You couldn’t see how many people were in the car. You couldn’t see what, if any, weapons the people in the car had. It was dark,” the defense attorney said. “Testimony will tell you Kathie Robbins got out, and yelled, she screamed ‘Get out! Leave! Get off our property! Go! . . . That’s what a normal, rational, reasonable person would do.”
Later Weinstock describes a scenario where Daniel Robbins, hearing his wife screaming in the front yard, grabs a gun and goes to her defense.
“You’re asked to leave repeatedly, you go. Christopher Mundy didn’t. Christopher Mundy stayed there. Kathie Robbins kept yelling. At some point in time, Daniel Robbins is inside the house. He hears his wife yelling and screaming. He got his gun, loaded his gun and went out to see what was going on. Testimony is going to tell you, he saw a car, lights on, engine running — and ladies and gentlemen, I would submit to you a car with its engine running is a deadly weapon, it and of itself; a vehicle with its engine running is a deadly weapon — and testimony will tell you Daniel Robbins yelled, ‘Get off my property! Get out! Leave!’” Weinstock tells the jury.
Finally, Daniel Robbins shot a warning shot into Mundy’s bumper. While the young passenger, Flores, said he ducked for cover, Mundy froze, seeming to await his fate.
“How many times was Christopher Mundy asked, warned, begged, cajoled, call it whatever you will, how many times was Christopher Mundy told to leave? Get off my property? Daniel Robbins, not knowing who was in that car, not knowing how many people were in that car, not knowing what weapons people in that car could have had, knowing that his wife, his children, his wife’s elderly disabled parents were in that area, doing what a man needs to do, which is to protect his family, himself and his property,” Weinstock said.
Describing the final scenario where Mundy is killed, Weinstock first refers to the shooting as an accident. He says the gun went off as Daniel Robbins was warning Mundy to leave yet again.
“He gets his gun and he points it. He starts to say ‘get off,’ meaning to say ‘get off my property,’ and he gets one word out, ‘get off’ and the gun goes off. Kathie Robbins, who is behind when she sees her husband have a gun pointed, she starts running up to Daniel Robbins and the gun goes off,” the lawyer said.
“Yes, ladies and gentleman, Christopher Mundy was shot. Yes, Christopher Mundy was killed. That, as I said, is a tragedy. But I submit to you ladies and gentlemen, based upon the evidence, as you listen to the evidence, think about who caused this. Whose fault is this? Who started the email battle? Who was told by Jennifer Robbins not to come to the house? Who was told by his friends don’t come to the house? Who was told by Facebook, both by Kathie Robbins and Daniel Robbins, ‘don’t come to the house?’ Who came to the house anyways? And at the house, who is told repeatedly, ‘get out, leave, go, we don’t want you?’ Who ignored that? Who had a warning shot, a warning shot, fired into their car, hitting a bumper of the car, letting them know this is not games, you’re on my property, get off, go? Who ignored that? The answer is, ladies and gentlemen, it’s Christopher Mundy.”
Kathie Robbins on the stand
After her daughter took the stand to describe phone calls she made from jail — she was arrested on Aug. 17, 2011 for fighting with a sister — Kathie Robbins was called to testify.
Prosecutors used the opportunity to press the defendant’s wife about her role in instigating the confrontation with Mundy.
It started with a Facebook friend request from Mundy on Aug. 16. The reply Kathie Robbins returned started the events toward their tragic end.
“Do not contact me. I don’t know and don’t care to know you. You are nothing but garbage to my family and if you were any kind of man, you would leave Jennifer until her family situation is settled. How dare you take her away from us,” evidence submitted in the case revealed.
Mundy’s response was not so personal, though Weinstock suggested it amounted to a besmirching of the Robbins as parents.
“That’s fine, but alas, I’m not the one who put her in jail hahah, so-called parents. You know what’s so funny, I never took your daughter away from you, last time I checked she was 19. When are you going to get it through your thick f**king head she left on her own. Yeah I’m not perfect, but who is? Looks like you’re not either. It takes a lot to put your own child in jail, crazy sh*t. You and your whole family can think what they want about me, I’m not going anywhere,” his reply to Kathie Robbins reads.
Kathie Robbins’ response is too vulgar to reprint here. She essentially curses him out and tells him to drop dead. It’s apparent not only that Kathie Robbins is angry about Mundy contacting her but also about his relationship with her daughter.
“If you did not poison her innocent mind, she would still be here going to school and actually doing something with her life. Not like you. You’ll go somewhere guaranteed, just not with her. Jennifer will eventually come to her senses and will drop you like the f**king piece of sh*t you are. You will never be welcome here, so if you think you will be guess again. Why don’t you email my husband instead of talking to me. Oh did you forget your big boy pants?” the response reads.
At one point, Mundy asks about coming over to the Robbins house. Kathie Robbins says to him that the cops will be waiting for him.
Jones used this statement in her opening argument.
“Kathie doesn’t call 911 until after Chris and Pablo have both been shot and Chris is taking his last breath,” the prosecutor said.
Testimony in the case is set to resume Friday morning. The court has scheduled the trial over three weeks, about three days each week for a total of nine days. Attorneys, however, on both sides say the case could go to the jury in as little as five days.
Daniel Robbins faces life in prison for killing Mundy. The bullet that struck the young man also struck and injured Flores.
The Pahrump Valley Times will bring you more about this case as it unfolds.
Reporter Kelsey Givens contributed to this story.