By Kelsey Givens
The prosecution in the Daniel Robbins murder trial rested its case Tuesday.
Defense attorneys are expected to begin presenting their case on Wednesday in District Court.
A last-minute defense motion in the trial asked the judge to order the jury to acquit Robbins of several charges, arguing that prosecutors had failed to prove all of their case.
“Your honor, at this time, I would be making some statute on a motion for a direct verdict of acquittal. I do not believe the state has met their burden. Specifically, I would tell you that I think that leaving it up to the jury, count one open murder would be sufficient. But I do not believe the state has met the burden as to counts two, three, four or five, specifically being the battery with use of a deadly weapon as to Pablo Flores, the battery causing substantial bodily harm as to Pablo Flores, the assault with a deadly weapon as to Christopher Mundy or the assault with a deadly weapon as to Pablo Flores,” Robbins defense attorney Arnold Weinstock told Judge Robert Lane.
Prosecutor Tierra Jones argued against the motion, stating everyone had agreed Robbins shot Mundy, 21, on Aug. 18, 2011, and that by shooting into the car, regardless of who was in there, the defendant showed intent. The shooting also injured Flores, 15, a juvenile witness to the alleged crime, who was sitting in the passenger seat of a borrowed car Mundy had driven to Daniel Robbins’ house at about 1:30 a.m. on the night of the incident.
“The defendant shot Chris Mundy; that’s not something anybody is disputing. The bullet went inside Chris Mundy’s neck on the left side, came out the right side and hit Pablo Flores’ arm. … Just because he didn’t go around to the passenger side to shoot Pablo, doesn’t mean he didn’t intend to injure Pablo. When he’s engaging in those unlawful acts, he’s to be held accountable for the consequences of his acts, which is when you fire a bullet into a car, holding the gun to somebody’s head and fire into the car, you’re responsible for whoever else it hits,” she said.
Lane told the parties he would take it into consideration, but did not issue a ruling.
Since last week, jurors heard from a number of prosecution witnesses, including deputies, detectives, the county’s contract medical examiner, who examined Mundy’s body, a 911 dispatcher and a ballistics expert about facts of the case in addition to two of Robbins’ family members, Kathie Robbins, the defendant’s wife, and Jennifer, his daughter.
On Friday, Nye County Sheriff’s Det. Eric Murphy, the lead investigator in the case, took the stand to testify about what he witnessed and discovered in the process of investigating the shooting.
“He appeared to be calm and just standing there,” Murphy said about Daniel Robbins when he first arrived on scene at the 940 Benson Circle home where the incident occurred.
“He told me that the he and the deceased had some conversation on Facebook and then approximately 15 minutes later after that conversation, a vehicle pulled up in his front yard and he could hear his wife outside yelling, so he proceeded to get out of bed and go around the side of the bed, open up a dresser drawer, pull a firearm out of the dresser, load the firearm and the chamber with one round. He then proceeded outside to the front yard and as he cleared the gate area of the residence, he informed me he fired a warning shot, and then proceeded past his wife to the vehicle and put the gun next to victim’s head. … He then stated to me he had the gun against victim’s head and it just went off.”
Two bullet casings were reportedly found in the approximate areas Daniel Robbins had indicated to police the gun had gone off. One was found underneath a bush up by the house, the other in the back seat of the borrowed car Mundy had been driving.
Murphy further testified that based on his investigation and the type of pistol Daniel Robbins was using at the time of the incident, in order for the bullet casing to have landed in the back seat of the vehicle, the defendant would have had to have his gun inside the vehicle when it was fired.
Also testifying from the sheriff’s office were deputies Jadey Zaragoza, Jason Heaney, John Kakavulias, Royce Avena, Harry Williams and Det. David Boruchowitz.
Boruchowitz, who interviewed Daniel Robbins after the incident, told the court that during their first interview, the defendant did not make any mention of his wife possibly bumping him or startling him at the time the gun went off, something that has since come up multiple times throughout the trial and appears to be the main defense strategy.
He also testified that Daniel Robbins told him in one interview that his main goal that night was just to get Mundy off of his property, telling the detective he would have “smashed” Mundy’s window with his gun if it hadn’t been open and “grab him and make him leave,” if he wouldn’t.
When Boruchowitz asked Daniel Robbins during that interview if he had ever been taught not to put his hand on the trigger of a gun if he didn’t intend to shoot, the defendant reportedly replied he had not.
And when asked why he had his finger on the trigger in the first place, Boruchowitz said Daniel Robbins told him he just wanted to scare Mundy off.
As testimony continued in the case on Tuesday, several expert witnesses took the stand to talk about the 911 call that came in on the night of the incident and about the gun involved in shooting Mundy.
Medical Examiner Rexene Worrell was one of three people called to the stand to testify. Her testimony was based on the autopsy she conducted on Mundy’s body after the he was shot.
Mundy reportedly suffered a severed spinal cord from the bullet fired from Daniel Robbins’ Czech Republic-made 9 millimeter pistol. The projectile struck his spine as it passed through his body, leaving entry and exit wounds.
She also testified that based on the mark around the bullet wound on Mundy’s neck and the amount of gunpowder residue she found there, she believed the gun that fired the fatal shot to Mundy was pressed directly up against his neck at the time of the shooting.
James Krylo, a ballistics expert, was also called to the stand to testify about the functionality of the gun used to shoot Mundy as well as its trigger function.
Krylo testified after firing the suspect gun and examining it, it appeared the gun was fully functional and had no abnormalities that he could find.
A 911 dispatcher called to testify about the call she received the night of the shooting said only one call from Kathie Robbins came into sheriff’s dispatch that night — testimony earlier from Kathie Robbins raised questions about whether the defendant’s wife called 911, as she somewhat alluded to on the stand, before the shooting.
As their last witness, the prosecution called Dr. Donald Johns, a pediatric neurologist and Flores’ doctor to talk about the juvenile’s injury and recovery.
Finally, jurors were taken to the scene of the crime to examine firsthand where Mundy’s car was parked in the Robbins’ driveway that night and where the defendant and his wife were in relation to the car as the events unfolded.
Once all of their witnesses had been called to the stand to testify, Jones told the judge the prosecution would then rest its case in chief.
Lane dismissed jurors for the rest of the afternoon. The defense will begin putting on its case beginning at 9 a.m. this morning.
The defense could rest as early as this week, though the trial was scheduled for as many as nine days.