In my last blog I mentioned how murders involving a spouse are sadly nearly commonplace in today's society, and yet there are still those that can still leave you in bewilderment and surprise. This is just one of those cases. I am unsure why the callousness, boldness and the egos associated with murderers surprises me, but it does. It seems as if so many murderers believe they are smarter than anyone else and they know how to get away with it. The perpetrator in this case took it a step further in the fact that he not only thought he could get away with it, he was convinced that he could pin the murder on someone else, and he was almost successful. But, as is the case in most murders the perpetrator missed a step somewhere and when that one “little” thing got missed and his “house of cards” fell it left him as the only true culprit.
Jeremy Spielbauer and Robin Bledsoe were married in 2005 and by the time they divorced in 2012 they had two young daughters. It seems a bit unclear exactly where their relationship stood in April of 2014. Robin's mother stated that Robin never regained happiness after her divorce and there did seem to be a lot of anger and turmoil in her life, especially still revolving around Jeremy. For his part Jeremy had moved on and re-married. Jeremy's new wife, Katie, and Robin did not get along, but exactly why is unclear to be fair. In fact, the two women had a physical confrontation in November of 2013. Whether it was because one or both of the women were being difficult with the other, or possibly that Jeremy was fueling the fire between them is unclear. Prosecutors would come to believe that Jeremy and Robin were carrying on an affair. It seems that Katie had believed this too. And, for whatever reason she had, by April of 2014 Katie had already had divorce paper drawn up. The couple still apparently lived in their home together and just how serious the divorce issue is unknown.
On April 7, 2014 Robin was living with her two daughters in her parents' home. She tucked the girls in bed and told her parents she was going out but was not specific on where she was going. When she had failed to return by late morning her parents filed a missing persons report. Later that afternoon a body was found on the side of a road on the outskirts of Amarillo Texas, near their home. The body belonged to Robin Spielbauer. It was obvious that she had been murdered. She had a gunshot wound to the back of her head.
As is often the case the first person that becomes a suspect is a spouse, or in this case an ex-spouse.... Jeremy Spielbauer. Friends and family knew that they were still having issues and they also knew that Jeremy's new wife Katie, and Robin also had their issues. The day after Robin's body was found investigators made their way to the home shared by Jeremy and Katie. Inside the home they found a pink and black .22 caliber pistol. This was quite interesting to investigators because not only had Robin been killed it seemed by a .22 caliber gun, a shell casing had been left at the scene. In addition to this the pink handle of the gun had a chip in it and low and behold but they found a pick chip at the scene of the murder. Two days later Katie Spielbauer was arrested and charged with the murder of Robin Spielbauer when not only did the pink chip match the gun but so did the shell casing found.
Just arresting Katie was obviously not the end of their investigation. There was much more to do and it had to start with Jeremy. Investigators did not believe that Jeremy had not been aware of the murder but they also did not know if he was truly involved. They repeatedly interviewed him but felt each time he was not being truthful because each time he seemed to tell a different story. It was during his third or fourth interview that Jeremy told investigators that he had planned to meet Robin the night of her murder. In fact, they planned to meet right where the murder took place. He even admitted to be there with Robin. But, Jeremy would claim that Katie, who had her suspicions about the couple had showed up at the scene and Jeremy claimed he left before anything happened. So now, Jeremy has put himself at the crime scene. It was later alleged that by the time that this happened the investigators had given Jeremy immunity from prosecution but we'll touch more on that later.
Katie remained in jail, proclaiming her innocence for the next year and a half. She had claimed that on the night of the murder she was with her son and they were visiting one of her friends. The friend and son had verified this but investigators and the prosecutors obviously did not feel as if their word was enough to dispute the evidence they had. Katie also allegedly attempted to tell many people at the jail that between the time of the murder and her arrest Jeremy had threatened her and had all but admitted that he had “taken care” of Robin. Katie would say that she had also attempted to tell the investigators this but that allegedly they were not listening during her arrest. Attorney's would later attempt to argue that this was simply a ploy on Katie's part to throw attention back at Jeremy. Katie was just about to face trial for Robin's murder when suddenly the prosecutor dropped all charges against her. Cell phone data had come through and they had determined through Katie's son's phone that he was exactly where Katie had claimed they were. There seemed to be no other way to prove that Katie was at the scene of the murder that night. So, after spending more than 450 days in jail, she was released, and the investigation seemed to be back at square one.
This meant to investigators that the only other person it could have been was the one person who had already put himself at the scene of the murder.... Jeremy. Initially here is what they knew and could prove.... Jeremy had placed himself at the scene and had apparently lied about Katie being present. They had to ask why he would lie about that if he was not the perpetrator. They knew that like Katie, Jeremy had access to the gun in which was used in the murder. They had also discovered that the gun had a tendency to jam from time to time. They obviously could not prove that it had done so on the night of the murder but the chip from the handle, left at the scene, indicated that either it had jammed, or the perpetrator simply wanted to leave a trace of this unique looking gun at the scene. They also wonder why the perpetrator, whether it would have been Katie or Jeremy would have taken that gun back to the home. Most murderers are quick to get rid of the murder weapon by dumping it, throwing it somewhere, or even giving it to someone else, few take it home with them. Of course investigators needed more than just suspicions. They had already done that once with Katie. Plus, the prosecutor also knew that in order to charge and convict Jeremy they were going to have to exonerate Katie. Any defense attorney worth their salt would repeatedly remind the jury that Katie had been arrested and nearly taken to trial. They could still argue that she was the perpetrator and not Jeremy, but they could also argue that the investigators got it wrong once, why not twice?
In April of 2016 Jeremy Spielbauer was arrested and charged with capital murder in the death of his ex-wife, Robin. By the time he went on trial in January of 2018 the prosecutors felt confident in their case. The first person to testify at the trial was a woman named Jessica Huffman. She was described as an “ex-girlfriend” but it seems she was a current girlfriend at the time of Robin's murder. It was said that she was facing perjury charges but it was unclear if those were related to this case or something unrelated. At the time of her testimony she was in jail herself on unrelated charges. Jessica testified that just days before Robin's murder Jeremy had expressed his anger about Robin to her. He was angry about the financial burden he faced with child support and allegedly not being able to see his children. Jessica claimed that she encouraged him to take the issue through the courts but that Jeremy had said he would take care of it himself and that it would be “better if Robin had a bullet in her head.” Jessica would claim that he later threatened to do the same to her if she ever told anyone about that conversation. Defense attorney's obviously had a field day with Jessica. They brought up her own criminal history and claimed that these new accusations were simply for revenge, asking her why she had not told of this conversation sooner. Jessica's answer was that she was scared of Jeremy. Whether that was true or not, no one can say, but it does seem that the claim could be legitimate.
Prosecutors were able to put on witnesses who claimed that Robin had always carried her bank card, social security card and the social security cards of her two daughters with her in her wallet. Her wallet was not found at the scene of the murder. Investigators had found the two daughters social security cards in Jeremy's truck during one of their searches. Robin's card was allegedly found by a “homeless man” and taken to a Subway restaurant. Again, defense attorney's argued that just because Robin had said she carried her daughters' social security cards no one could prove that she actually did or that she had not given them to Jeremy at some point for some reason.
About a mile away from the scene of the murder there had been a bank in which had a surveillance camera. Investigators were able to determine that Robin's car had passed this camera, headed to the road in which her body was found at about 9:21 on that night. Six minutes later Jeremy's truck was seen driving in the same direction. His truck could be seen coming back from the scene at 9:50pm.
One of the things that I found “funny” or interesting in this trial was the argument between prosecutors and defense attorney's on how to determine who, Jeremy or Katie, was telling the truth. I say I found this funny because the argument the defense made was one that I have honestly never heard before and even reading their comments I could imagine the “straws” they were grasping. The prosecutors pointed out how Jeremy's story kept changing throughout his interviews. In fact, videos were shown to the jury that showed how even in one sitting he would contradict himself but they also showed how he eventually placed himself at the murder scene. Prosecutors also pointed out that Katie's story never changed. She had consistently stated she was at her friends home and recounted everything she had done. We have all heard the phrase that when people lie their stories change or they trip over themselves because they cannot keep their lies straight but that when someone is telling the truth they remain consistent. This was the position that the prosecution was taking. Of course the defense could not argue that while Katie's story remained the same throughout and Jeremy's story changed multiple times, but instead of saying this showed Katie to be truthful and Jeremy lying, they took the exact opposite position. They attempted to convince the jury that Katie's story seemed “rehearsed” and argued that her story was “too” consistent to be true. They argued that Jeremy was telling the truth because as people go over memories in their heads they add things that they have suddenly remembered. In all the cases that I have studied or read about I have never once seen this position taken, nor do I see it as a plausible position. In my opinion it makes absolutely no sense. But, that is what the defense attempted to say.
The main prosecution position was that Jeremy had obviously murdered Robin and had attempted to set Katie, who had plans to file for divorce, up for the crime. In their opinion this was his way of getting rid of both women in this “love triangle” they believed was going on. Whether their theory that Jeremy and Robin were continuing to have an affair seems unclear. It does seem clear to me that Katie and Jeremy's issues were beyond just involving Robin considering the fact that Jessica Huffman had been in the picture around the same time. The defense simply argued that Katie was the murderer, that the evidence proved this and that the investigators had even believed that. They argued against the cell phone data that proved her innocence as being flawed. But, as is often the case, they also threw another theory at the wall to see which would stick. The second theory was simply that neither Katie, nor Jeremy were guilty and this was a case of an overeager investigator and prosecutor.
The trial last two weeks and while the prosecution was not seeking the death penalty this was a capital murder charge. A conviction was an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole. The jury took all of three hours to come to a verdict. If I was a defense attorney before that jury walked back into the courtroom I would have been excited that it took such little time. But so much of this case was never what it appeared on the surface. The jury surprised both sides in this case when they returned with a verdict of guilty of murder... not capital murder, but the lesser charge of simply murder. This meant there had to be a sentencing hearing of some sort. By all indications that was done the same day and the jury came back with a recommendation of a life sentence. The only difference between the automatic sentence Jeremy would have received had he been convicted of capital murder is that this sentence gave him the possibility of parole, not that it was guaranteed. According to the Texas Department of Corrections he will be eligible for parole in April of 2046.
It seems that from the time of Robin's murder, until the time of Jeremy's conviction he shared custody of his daughter's with Robin's parents. Upon his conviction they stated they were filing for full custody and it was later stated they were planning to adopt the girls.
Seeing as this case was just settled a few months ago no appeal has been published, but the defense has stated they have plans for that.