“I Know She Liked Her Mother….”

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From the AP:

A former Ivy League professor pleaded guilty Monday to voluntary manslaughter for killing his wife as she wrapped Christmas presents last year, telling a judge he “just lost it” during an argument.

Rafael Robb [shown at right], once a tenured economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, faces a likely prison sentence of 4 ½ to seven years for bludgeoning his wife, Ellen, on Dec. 22.

Robb, 57, said Monday that he got into an argument with his wife about a trip she was taking with their daughter and whether they would be returning in time for the daughter to return to school.

“We started a discussion about that. The discussion was tense,” Robb said. “We were both anxious about it.   We both got angry.   At one point, Ellen pushed me. … I just lost it.”

Ellen Robb, 49, described as a stay-at-home mother who doted on their only child, died in the kitchen of their home in Upper Merion Township, outside Philadelphia.

“It’s a classic heat-of-passion killing,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor. *** Rafael Robb apologized to his 13-year-old daughter, Olivia, and family in court Monday. “I know she liked her mother…. And now she doesn’t have a mother,” he said, stifling tears.  ***

Sentencing will likely take place in a few months.   Guidelines call for a term of 4 ½ to seven years, but Castor said state law allows anything from probation to 10 to 20 years.

A full version of the article is here (free registration required).  

If you are young, black and  male, receiving consensual oral sex can land you in jail for 20+ years (see here), but if you are middle-aged, not black, highly-educated and  live  in the  suburbs, killing your spouse can land you in jail for four and a half to seven years.   Four and a half to seven years?   This “former Ivy League professor”  is eligible for  probation (!) under Pennsylvania law.

Hat tip: Vanessa Merton.

-Bridget Crawford

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0 Responses to “I Know She Liked Her Mother….”

  1. Ann Bartow says:

    I saw that article yesterday, and thought about pointing out here how that 4 and a half years of prison time is actually less than some people convicted of copyright related infractions are serving! But I didn’t want to trivialize a woman’s death to make a point about the idiocy of criminalizing copyright infringement. I’m glad I waited; your post is a lot better.

  2. umlawgirl07 says:

    It seems to me that this post (and your comment, Ann, about copyright infringement) simply underscores our collective priorities in this country. What’s important is money/economics or “protecting” our puritanical interests and what’s not valued is women’s lives.