Well I actually know a murderer

I have frequently written and talked about how unlikely it is for the type of people who I lecture to at universities to know someone who has committed murder. When you consider that about 90 percent of adult murderers have an adult criminal record, that they have long histories of social problems, that they overwhelmingly live in just a few percent of the counties in the US and are usually young black males, the odds are just very low. Well, I can now say with certainty, that I know a murderer. Rafael Robb was an economics professor at Penn when I was there, and we went out to dinner a couple of times. I had very briefly meet him when I was in graduate school at UCLA.

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

Rafael Robb, once a tenured economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, faces a likely prison sentence of 4 1/2 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."

This is one part that reminds me of the unjustified egos of a lot of academics:

A former Ivy League professor pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter for killing his wife as she wrapped Christmas presen Robb was an expert in game theory, a complex melding of psychology, human behavior and economics — all aimed at determining what one's adversary will do next.

With that background, police say, Robb may have thought he could outsmart them.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is it that people say about at most 7 degrees of separation from anyone on the planet?

It is a reflection of how rare murder is in the general population that so few of us know a murderer.

Interesting that the article states that the couple "had been long estranged" and that she had complained about "verbal abuse"

I wonder how much violence and taunting had been part of their relationship before this ended it.

Unfortunately the one who suffers most from this is the daughter.

11/27/2007 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Detectives believed the scene had been staged to look like a burglary. The murder weapon — a chin-up bar that hadn't been installed yet, Castor said — was not found."

We must act NOW to ban Chin-up bars!
It's for the Children!
Doug in Colorado

11/27/2007 6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ban Marriage......

-for the children


11/28/2007 2:59 PM  

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