VISTA–The ex-boyfriend of a Carlsbad woman found dead in a remote area of Fallbrook was arraigned Nov. 30 on one count of murder with a special circumstance of lying in wait. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Michael David Robles, 43, is accused of strangling Kathleen Cary Scharbarth, 34, inside her Carlsbad condo on November 23. If convicted of the charge, Robles could face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Friends and family members of the murdered victim packed the courtroom for Robles’ arraignment.
Robles sat quietly while Deputy District Attorney Kelly Mok told Vista Superior Court Judge Marshall Hockett about Scharbarth’s strained relationship with Robles.
After Scharbarth ended her eight-year relationship with the defendant last February, she moved out of his Fallbrook home, says Mok.
Mok told the judge the defendant continued to pursue the victim, pleading with her to return to him. But Scharbarth had told Robles that the relationship was over and she was involved with another man.
Mok said on Nov. 16, Robles, trying to avoid being detected, borrowed a car and returned to Scharbarth’s condo. He barged in and confronted her and her new boyfriend. She threaten to call the police and Robles left. On Nov. 17, Scharbarth filed a restraining order against Robles.
Despite the restraining order against him, Mok said Robles continued to harass Scharbarth.
On Nov. 23, Robles returned to Scharbarth’s residence and he hid in the bushes outside her condo. Mok said a neighbor confronted Robles and he ran off into a canyon.
Mok told the judge Robles returned to the residence later that evening and snuck in Scharbarth’s condo as she was saying goodbye to her boyfriend. She returned to her condo and Robles confronted her. He strangled her as her 13-year-old daughter slept upstairs in her bedroom.
Robles removed the victim’s body from her condo and buried her in a shallow grave in a remote area in Fallbrook.
Mok said on Thanksgiving Day, Robles had dinner with friends.
Robles was arrested on November 25, after Scharbarth was reported missing. Her body was found the same day in a remote area of Fallbrook.
During their investigation, authorities found plane tickets to Mexico. The tickets were purchased the same day Scharbarth’s body was found, said Mok.
The judge denied bail stating the defendant was a “danger to the community” and a flight risk.
After the arraignment, Mok said the District Attorney’s Office will decide whether to pursue a death sentence or life in prison without parole.
“This is a particularly disturbing case of domestic violence that the family had to hear about on Thanksgiving Day and the victim’s birthday,” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said. “Our office does not tolerate domestic violence. We will pursue justice for the victim’s family in hope that we can return a measure of peace to their lives.”
Robles remains in Vista Detention Facility with no bail. He is scheduled to be in court on January 18 and again on February 6 for a preliminary hearing.