Hendry's Beach parking lot closed due to the investigation of a fatal stabbing Thursday April 15, 2010

Paul Wellman

Hendry's Beach parking lot closed due to the investigation of a fatal stabbing Thursday April 15, 2010

Hendry’s Beach Murder Trial Begins

Adrian Robles Stands Accused of Stabbing and Killing Robert Simpson in April 2010

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
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Adrian Robles stabbed Robert Simpson in the neck — “one quick blow, one deadly strike with a small knife” that killed Simpson — because Robles wouldn’t let his gang be disrespected, a prosecutor told jurors during opening statements last Wednesday in Robles’s murder trial.

But his defense attorney, Steve Balash, said it wasn’t his client who stabbed the victim, but Rudy Gallegos, Robles’s acquaintance who got into a fight with Simpson prior to the stabbing at Hendry’s Beach in April 2010. If convicted, Robles faces life in prison.

The undisputed facts have narrowed the case down to two suspects — Robles and Gallegos. “This is an identification case,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Hilary Dozer told the jury Wednesday.

Indeed, there was much confusion in the aftermath of the stabbing, as people rushed to render aid to Simpson in the grassy park behind the Boathouse restaurant at Hendry’s Beach. Gallegos was originally arrested for the murder, but was released the same day authorities arrested and charged Robles. Both men have ties to the Westside gang, have tattoos on their heads, and have similar builds.

Adrian Robles (Aug. 2010)
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Adrian Robles (Aug. 2010)

In the first three days of testimony last week, witnesses expressed difficulty in identifying who actually committed the stabbing. Several suggested that the man who fought Simpson just minutes before his death was not the same person who stabbed him.

According to testimony, two Hispanic men were at the park with two women, and eventually a war of words escalated into a physical altercation. This was between Gallegos and Simpson, according to Dozer. Simpson won that fight, said one witness. He was in a dominant position but disengaged. “He could’ve kept going but stopped,” said witness Stuart Moulton.

Minutes later as Simpson walked away, a man came up from behind and it looked to Moulton like the man punched Simpson. It was a quick shot, Moulton said, and not made by the same person who had been in the fight.

Other witnesses who have taken the stand participated in photo lineups shortly after the incident, but weren’t able to definitively say Robles was the stabber. One pointed out Robles in a lineup, noting the tattoos on his head and saying he “could be” the attacker.

Robles, who will turn 23 in a couple of weeks, looks very different now than he did the day of his arrest. Sitting in a charcoal suit in court, he’s grown a beard and is wearing his hair long in a ponytail, hiding the tattoos on his head.

The one person who knows for sure who stabbed Simpson and will be testifying is Rudy Gallegos. Despite the fact Gallegos is putting himself in physical danger for testifying against a fellow gang member or associate, he is expected to take the stand Wednesday to give his side of the story. Dozer admitted to the jury that Gallegos initially lied to investigators about what happened that evening.

But Dozer expects Gallegos will testify that he looked down on Robles for “not stepping up and taking care of his own business,” when Simpson and his friends allegedly insulted the women Gallegos and Robles were with. After the fight Gallegos backed off, Dozer said, but Robles decided that such an event would not go unnoticed by his fellow gang members, and neither would his inaction, so Robles attacked Simpson with a knife. Gallegos, Dozer said, “will testify Adrian Robles stabbed Robert Simpson, and he will say he saw it happen.”

The defense paints a different picture. “At the end of this case you will know who committed this homicide,” Balash told the jury. “Robert Simpson was stabbed by a Westside gang member,” he said. “Which one? That’s going to test your ability as a juror.” He said Gallegos was the one acting belligerent that day, while Robles was the quieter, calm guy. He also said Gallegos won’t tell the truth. “The evidence will prove Rudy Gallegos can and will lie when necessary,” Balash said.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

I am trying to figure out why the INDY keeps pulling comments down on this article? The one I read seemed like a reasonable argument. This is a ridiculous situation that needs to be addressed by law enforcement before it happens again. I am not talking about a few surfers at the beach catching a buzz. Now it would seem the defense lawyer is going to try to play a shell game with who did it? My tax dollars at work. I wonder if a barber will have to come in and shave some heads for this one to be resolved. Respecting a gang...right. Someone needs to get out the Websters dictionary.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2012 at 9:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

(This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of use policy.)

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2012 at 9:53 a.m.

Or I wonder if there is a possible threat from the Gang? It wouldn't be the first time. Today will be a very interesting day in court indeed.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2012 at 9:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It is factual that County Parks discussed this is 2008 (sorry, not 2009). Here is the article from your own paper Chris. It's also stated in the article that Mary O'Gorman, Janet's co-Supervisor voiced her opposition. The Mesa Rats, of which Mr. Simpson was a part of, are a known imbibing group on the beach.

It is a reasonable conclusion that if the ban or permit requirements were put in place. Mr. Simpson would be alive today. It's also not a far reach that this will happen again.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2012 at 10:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It is mainly a shame that both Gallegos and Robles can't be incarcerated for a very long time. Whoever actually did the stabbing I think it is a safe bet that given the opportunity either would do something similar again.

Noletaman (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2012 at 10:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Those two should rot in prison.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2012 at 10:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Noletaman Here in the U.S. we don't convict or jail people for what we think they might do under future consequences. Fortunately our country was founded by men of the Enlightenment and not by folks like you.

JayB (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2012 at 10:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So 'Beachfan,' you think Robert Simpson, who was slaughtered like a barnyard animal, would be alive if there was an alcohol ban at Hendry's?

How does that work, exactly? (Is enforcement of an alcohol ban a cure for the sociopathic group-dynamics of gang behavior?)

And you're blaming County staff?

Why don't you add the person who sold the murderer the knife? Or the County staffer who unlocked the Park gate that morning?

Chester_Arthur_Burnett (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2012 at 10:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here you go Chester. The events leading up to his stabbing. This group was Drinking for an extended period of time in the park. Mr. Simpson was there as well for a few hours drinking. The two groups came together, drank together, then friction began, leading to this unfortunate incident.
County Parks staff in the years before, was concerned that cutbacks, leading to less supervision, City Parks and Beaches banning alcohol, combined to bring folks to Hendry's as the only drinking beach in SB. If a ban would have been in force, as the Park Rangers had suggested (you know the people who actually work in the field and know the dynamics?), this would not have happened. Fact. Period. If any blame is out there it's on 2nd District Sup. Wolf for being informed of the concerns and based on her opinion, chose not to take action. Staff tried to do their part.
It is also fair to state that with the existing dynamic still in place, it's a question of when, not if a serious incident will take place there again. Don't believe me? Go by late afternoon to the turf area near the old Ranger House and see who is hanging out there and what they are doing.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2012 at 11:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Balash. How does that guy sleep?

Scooter (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2012 at 1:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To me, addiction and bad drunks, are the only negative effects of alcohol. In this case the problem can be attributed to both. Having a drink at the beach is a great feeling, but to deal with the addicts (bums) or bad drunks (see above) is the biggest buzzkill.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2012 at 10:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Why am I not hearing anything else about this in the local media? Didn't another court date occur?

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2012 at 2:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bimbo...: Both Noozhawk and the News-Press have near daily stories. The trial is in its second week, with court days M, W-F.

at_large (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2012 at 8:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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