Trial begins for Edmonton senior accused of killing son-in-law
Editor’s note: The Crown closed its case and the defence did not call any evidence. Closing arguments in the trial will be held on Friday, June 22.
An Edmonton senior is on trial, accused of killing his son-in-law.
Before a 12-person jury, Crown prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga laid out his second-degree murder case against Roberto Robles. Robles pleaded not guilty in court on Wednesday morning.
Huyser-Wierenga said 75-year-old Robles despised his son-in-law, 38-year-old Armando Cosmea-Aspillaga, calling him a “piece of junk, a dog, lower than a rat.”
In his opening statement, the Crown said Robles called his son-in-law’s death “justice.”
It’s the Crown’s theory that the senior (who was 73 at the time) ambushed and murdered his son-in-law in his Riverbend home.
“Armando was ambushed by his father-in-law, attacked unexpectedly and suddenly,” Huyser-Wierenga said. “First by the volley of shots fired by a pellet pistol.”
The Crown told the jury Cosmea-Aspillaga, known to friends and family as Mandy, had five pellet wounds – one in the middle of his forehead and another behind his ear, which would have been disorienting.
The Crown said after that burst of pellet fire, Cosmea-Aspillaga was stabbed multiple times.
Huyser-Wierenga told the court the medical examiner will speak to five stabs wounds – one in the neck and one near the ribs that would have been lethal.
“What’s the explanation for this grotesque and sudden violence?”
Court heard Cosmea-Aspillaga met his wife, Flavia Robles, at a wedding in Cuba in 2009. The couple began a relationship and were married in late 2010.
Less than a year later, Cosmea-Aspillaga immigrated to Edmonton. In 2013, the couple celebrated the birth of their daughter.
The Crown told the court the relationship crumbled; they had separated but continued to live in the same home.
They were in the process of sorting out shared parenting times.
On June 17, 2016, Robles and his wife came to the couple’s home to look after their granddaughter, while Cosmea-Aspillaga went to work and Flavia Robles headed to Calgary.
Cosmea-Aspillaga was supposed to attend a party after his day of work as a labourer in Nisku. He planned to head home and change first.
“Mandy never showed up because he was killed,” Huyser-Wierenga said.
Court heard a 911 recording from that day. Robles’ wife spoke to the dispatcher, frantic and in broken English told 911 there was a fight between her husband and son-in-law.
“Come, please come,” she told the operator.
The call was disconnected and a police evaluator called back.
Robles’ wife told police she was safe upstairs with the baby. She said “it looks like something bad.”
While on the phone she told the police her husband said: “bring the police, I killed him.”
The Crown presented its case in opening statements on Day 1 of the trial on Wednesday. The Crown plans to call 19 witnesses, which is expected to take five to six days. The defence will present its case after that.
The Crown said Robles talked at length with a police investigator the next day about bringing his own family to Canada back in 1974.
The trial is expected to conclude on June 26.
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