Despite calls for a prison sentence from the prosecution and the victim’s mother, Brittany Weiler, who acted as the getaway driver for Adrian Robles, the man alleged to have murdered Robert Simpson near Hendry’s Beach in April 2010, was sentenced to three years of probation by Judge Brian Hill Tuesday morning.
Just over year ago, Weiler changed her plea from not guilty to no contest for the charge of accessory to murder after the fact. She also admitted to a gang enhancement. “I feel very strongly the defendant was an accomplice in the crime against my son,” said the victim’s mother Susan Simpson, as one of her sons sat behind her crying. “She must face the consequence for her part in the tragedy.”
Senior Deputy DA Hilary Dozer outlined in front of Hill why he believed Weiler was not an appropriate candidate for probation, despite a recommendation from the probation department. Dozer wanted a five-year prison sentence.
Dozer said Weiler has a long history of associating with the Westside gang, including on the night of the attack. Adrian Robles and another person, Rudy Gallegos (who was originally arrested in the case), have ties to the gang, Dozer said. Weiler, said Dozer, aided in a “vicious knife attack,” where the attacker took the victim by surprise as he was trying to walk away. Since her arrest, Weiler has begun a new association with a Goleta gang, Dozer alleged, and her actions while out of jail awaiting sentencing led her to be arrested again.
Most illuminating in Dozer’s statement Tuesday, however, is that investigators believe they found the murder weapon hidden under a tire in the trunk of her car. An initial search of the car didn’t turn the knife up, Dozer told Hill, but Weiler was allegedly talking about it with others, and word got back to authorities who then discovered the weapon. She has had several contacts with police, going back to 2006 when she was arrested for petty theft. Most other encounters with authority had to do with alcohol or marijuana. “I can’t see how anyone can say probation is appropriate,” Dozer said.
But Hill saw things otherwise, saying “it’s not tremendously clear she is a true public safety risk.” Most of her prior arrests were small, and there was no evidence she had foreknowledge the stabbing was going to occur, he said. These factors, combined with her age, led him to his conclusion. As part of the terms of her three-year felony probation, Weiler can’t associate with gang members or people with weapons. “If she violates, she’s going to end up in state prison,” he said. “There’s not going to be any flexibility here or any leniency shown.” She faces five years in prison if she violates probation.
She also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges, for which she received time served.
Robles, meanwhile, still awaits trial, which is scheduled for later this year. “This is a very difficult time for me,” said Susan Simpson. “To lose a child in any way is horrendous.”