Economics Professor
Pleads Guilty and Resigns

Dr. Rafael Robb, professor of economics, resigned from the University in November after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter for the December 2006 killing of his wife, Ellen [“Gazetteer,” March|April 2007]. He had been held without bail at the Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) Correctional Facility on charges of first- and third-degree murder and placed on indefinite academic leave from Penn ever since his wife was found bludgeoned to death in the couple’s Upper Merion Township home on December 22, 2006.

After months of maintaining his innocence, the 57-year-old Robb pleaded guilty on November 26 to voluntary manslaughter (in which the person kills “under a sudden and intense passion”), avoiding a trial. He admitted that he had “lost it” during an argument about their 12-year-old daughter’s vacation and had “started flailing” at his wife with an exercise bar. Though Robb had not been sentenced by the time the Gazette went to press, the maximum sentence for voluntary manslaughter is 20 years in prison, and Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor said he would ask for a “substantial” sentence above the standard range of 4 1⁄2 to six years. —S.H.

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