Wife killer and former UPenn professor Rafael Robb doesn't want all that money — $124M — going to his murdered wife's estate. The couple's only child, a daughter who is now 20, is the beneficiary of that estate.
Robb bludgeoned his wife Ellen to death in the couple's King of Prussia home in 2006, and after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter was sentenced to a minimum of 5 and maximum of 10 years in prison.
Last month, in a civil trial, the evidence in the case was presented publicly for the first time and jurors awarded Ellen's estate $124.26 million in compensatory and punitive damages. It's believed to be the largest contested personal injury verdict in Pennsylvania history. Prosecutors believe Rafael Robb still has millions in assets.
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Robb was back in court Thursday — via prison video — asking a Montgomery County judge to reduce the punitive portion of the award, which was $100 million. Robb's attorney, Eric D. Levin, argued some of the evidence presented by the plaintiff's attorneys prejudiced jurors and should not have been allowed. Autopsy photographs revealed Ellen's head was beaten so viciously, investigators initially believed she'd been shot in the face. Other crime scene photographs depicted what attorney Bob Mongeluzzi likened during the trial to a horror movie, due to the amount of blood Ellen lost on the floor and walls of her kitchen.
"This is a desperate murderer who is trying to cling to any money he has and making a last ditch, desperate attempt to exert control over a daughter who doesn't want to have anything to do with him," said Andrew Duffy, an attorney for Ellen Robb's estate.
Rafael Robb's attorney also argued the court should have granted a mistrial when Robb's daughter was escorted out of the courtroom by a "gauntlet" of people after testifying against her father because the scene left jurors with the impression Robb was a "monster."
Attorneys for Ellen Robb's estate argued the award was not excessive and served to keep others from committing such heinous crimes.
"So an award like this deters not only people who have a little amount of money, but also deters people who have a lot of money," said Mongeluzzi.
Judge Thomas Del Ricci told both sides he would issue a ruling in writing.
Attempts to reach Rafael Robb's attorney for comment were unsuccessful.