A woman facing 15 years to life in prison if convicted of murdering her ex-husband will write letters from jail to their children while awaiting trial in Warren County.
On Tuesday, Judge Robert Peeler ruled Mercedes Robb would be permitted to write letters to her two children with Jason Robb.
Before being shared with the children, the letters are to be reviewed by therapists helping the children in the aftermath of the shooting death of their father in November, allegedly by their mother, while Jason Robb waited at her home outside Lebanon to take them to school.
Peeler’s ruling came despite opposition from a prosecutor speaking on behalf of the state and Jason Robb’s family, which has been caring for the children since the shooting.
“We’ve been in contact with the family. We know the children are having a hard time,” Assistant County Prosecutor Chris Delnicki said during the hearing.
But Peeler decided to grant the letter writing proposed by Robb’s lawyer, Andrea Ostrowski.
“Certainly the therapists in this case have the best interests of the children at mind here,” Peeler said, while ordering the letters to be reviewed by the therapists before being shared with the children.
“Thank you,” Mercedes Robb said.
Jason Robb, 35, was the fifth person, but not the last, to die in Warren County last year in fatal domestic violence incidents beginning in July 2016.
Today a Lebanon man is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on charges stemming from the fatal shooting of his father.
On Tuesday, the judge made his ruling on the letter writing after Ostrowski said she was giving up on bringing a not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity defense.
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Ostrowski abandoned the potential defense based on the concurrent opinions of two psychologists.
Peeler said the second psychologist, Kara Marciani, found Robb, 35, knew right from wrong last November when she allegedly shot and killed Jason Robb.
“Mercedes Robb was suffering from a mental disease but not a mental defect at the time of the offense,” Peeler said in summary of the latest psychological examination.
“It’s her opinion Mrs. Robb knew the wrongfulness of those offenses,” Peeler said and “does not meet the criteria for insanity.”
Peeler set the trial for Oct 9 to Oct. 12 in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
If convicted on the simple murder charge, she faces 15 years to life in prison, with the possibility of parole.
And if convicted of the aggravated murder charge, the former Air Force veteran and dental office worker faces 20 years to life in prison, 25 years to life in prison or 30 years to life in prison. Each sentence would include a possibility of parole.
Peeler had already ruled that Mercedes Robb could assist in her defense.
“Based on two experts agreeing, Robb is competent to stand trial,” Peeler ruled during a brief hearing in May in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
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On Nov. 3, 2016, Mercedes Robb told a 911 operator she shot her ex-husband to protect her children from him. But no evidence has so far been presented supporting that.
The Robbs were locked in a custody battle, and Jason Robb had cited her diminishing mental condition in a motion seeking full custody.
He was was the owner of J & J Fabricating, developer of a system used to manage video monitors in Costco stores across the country. He had recently launched another business, the Frankenfries food truck.
He also left behind an infant daughter by his fiancee.
On Wednesday, Freddie Green is scheduled to appear in Warren County Common Pleas Court for a pretrial hearing in a murder case stemming from the fatal shooting of his father, Sidney Green, 64, in December in Lebanon.
Sidney Green was the sixth and last victim in a string of deadly domestic violence incidents in 2016 in Warren County.
The other cases involved two couples. David and Traci-Fletcher Garrett died in a homicide-suicide in September outside Springboro, in Clearcreek Twp., and Eric and Lauren Walker in a homicide-suicide in July, outside Morrow and next door to Little Miami High School, in Hamilton Twp.