By Matt Ward
Emotions ran high in District Court in Pahrump as a local judge handed down a hefty sentence to a man convicted of killing his daughter’s boyfriend in 2011.
A jury convicted Daniel Robbins, 47, of second degree murder among other serious felony charges in November.
During Monday’s sentencing hearing, District Court Judge Robert Lane gave the man 10 years to life on the second degree murder charge, a sentence of eight to 20 years for using a gun, and four to 10 years for battery with a deadly weapon, all to run consecutive to one another. Two other sentences of one to four years each will run concurrent, meaning at the same time as the other sentences.
Robbins was given credit for 572 days already served in the county jail.
The former Gaming Control Board slot technician will likely spend about 20 years behind bars for shooting and killing Chris Mundy, a 21-year-old man who was dating one of Robbins’ daughters at the time of the Aug. 18, 2011 incident. Robbins was also punished for injuring a then-14-year-old boy named Pablo Flores, who was with Mundy the night of the shooting. A bullet fired into Mundy’s neck passed through his body and injured Flores in the arm.
Mundy had driven to Robbins’ home in the middle of the night to try to smooth over an altercation that took place earlier in the evening with his girlfriend’s parents on Facebook. Robbins and his wife had warned Mundy not to show up. When he did, Robbins’ wife confronted him outside in the driveway of the family’s home. Then Robbins came outside of his home with a loaded gun, firing what defense attorneys claimed was a warning shot into the bumper of Mundy’s car before walking closer to the vehicle and firing point blank into Mundy’s neck. The fatal shot was characterized to jurors as an accidental discharge by the defense. But prosecutors successfully argued that it was intentional.
A cadre of Nye County Sheriff’s deputies were in the courtroom Monday to maintain control over the crowd that showed up to watch the sentencing hearing. Family members on both sides openly wept as defense and prosecuting attorneys delivered their recommendations to Lane.
The hearing opened with Lane denying a defense motion for a new trial. Defense attorney Arnold Weinstock then argued for the judge to impose a minimum sentence in the case — 10 to 25 years — saying that Robbins had no criminal history and that Mundy provoked the attack by showing up at Robbins’ Pahrump home in the middle of the night after being warned to stay away.
“It wasn’t a situation where Mr. Robbins went out looking for someone to hurt,” Weinstock argued. “It all could have been avoided if Mr. Mundy had not shown up.”
After Weinstock pleaded for the minimum sentence, Robbins stood and read a prepared statement.
He acknowledged first that he had trouble showing emotion because as a child he was often punished whenever he did. Yet, for the first time during the case, he began to shed tears, sobbing as he read a somewhat disjointed statement.
“I am sorry this whole altercation started. I wish I had never brought the gun out with me outside, but I was in fear for my wife and my children. I am deeply sorry and saddened for shooting Pablo and Chris. Had I known Chris was actually coming to my house, I would have blocked the driveway with some cars. I wish to God I would have taken a gun safety class, but I could not afford it. I wish I had never pointed the gun at Chris, but the gun accidentally went off,” he said.
After saying that he never expected Mundy to show up at the home so late at night, he added, “There are no words to express how deeply sorry I am to Chris and Pablo’s families for the hurt I’ve caused.”
He then thanked his family and friends for standing by him — more than 30 people sent letters of support on his behalf to the court.
County prosecutor Tierra Jones then got up and presented her argument for why Robbins should be punished for his reckless behavior the night of the shooting. She said statements by Robbins and the defense that Mundy was somehow at fault were ridiculous.
“The state agrees with the defense that this is a tragedy that could have been avoided, but the state doesn’t think the way this tragedy could have been avoided is if Chris Mundy would’ve stayed home,” she said. “I think this is a tragedy that could have been avoided had Daniel Robbins called the police instead of ever leaving his residence, or had he taken any other precaution other than getting his gun, loading his gun and releasing the safety and heading outside.”
The prosecutor then turned up the heat a bit when she referred to a pre-sentencing document that suggested that Robbins takes full responsibility for what happened that night.
“The state takes issue with that judge, because you also heard numerous jail calls, plus you also heard everything else. This has ranged from Chris Mundy’s fault, to the sheriff’s office’s fault, to the DA’s office’s fault, to Jennifer’s fault (Mundy’s girlfriend), to everybody’s fault but the person who shot Chris and injured Pablo. I don’t think the defendant has taken any responsibility for what took place that night.
“Judge, he hasn’t even shown remorse for what he did,” Jones told the court.
Before handing down the sentence, Lane told Robbins that he thought the man’s behavior was “outrageous.”
“I have to concur with the state that society needs to know this won’t be tolerated,” he said. “I sat through the trial and know the jury made the right decision.”
Lane also said he didn’t buy the defense claim that Robbins’ first shot that night was a warning — the judge said he believed the defendant was aiming right for the windshield of the car and simply missed.
“Such reckless behavior does deserve a proper punishment,” he said.
After the sentencing, Dan Winder, another of Robbins’ defense attorneys, said he was disappointed with the harsh sentence meted out. He said Robbins is appealing his conviction to the state’s Supreme Court.
“I just hope someday soon he will be a free man again,” Winder said.
Robbins didn’t have to wait long for a ride to prison. He was transported to the Nevada Department of Corrections facility in Indian Springs Tuesday morning.