Robin Row - Idaho Supreme Court rejects death row appeal 1/25/2008

Started by Aussie4DR, August 13, 2008, 03:49:51 PM

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Idaho Supreme Court rejects death row appeal
Posted by The Associated Press January 25, 2008

BOISE -- The Idaho Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal from the state's only woman on death row.

Robin Row, convicted of aggravated arson and three counts of murder in 1993 for setting the fire at her Boise apartment that killed her husband and two children while they slept, claimed the state wrongfully withheld information that could have been helpful to her case.

But in an unanimous ruling today, the high court said the allegedly withheld evidence did not cast any doubt on the reliability of her conviction and sentence.

Row already had brought three appeals -- some of which still were pending in the courts -- when she filed a fourth petition, claiming a deputy prosecutor committed misconduct by withholding evidence. The evidence in question was that a law enforcement officer was present when one of Row's friends recorded a telephone conversation with Row discussing the night of the murders.

The fire that killed 32-year-old Randy, 10-year-old Joshua and 8-year-old Tabitha Cornellier happened in February 1992, and shortly after a detective asked Row's friend and neighbor, Joan McHugh, to begin recording any phone calls she received from Row.

In one of those calls, the detective asked McHugh to lie and tell Row that early on the morning of the fire, she had woken up and gone downstairs, only to find that Row wasn't there. Row first told McHugh that she couldn't remember where she was, according to the recordings, but said in a phone call later that day that she'd been talking with her psychiatrist in a car outside the apartment.

When McHugh pointed out that the psychiatrist could serve as an alibi, proving Row didn't commit the murders, Row "did not seem enthused about the fact that she would have an alibi and refused to tell her psychiatrist's name," according to the detective's report.

In her appeal, Row claimed that the state wrongfully failed to reveal that the detective was actually present with McHugh when McHugh recorded the phone calls. But the Idaho Supreme Court didn't agree, instead finding that at the very least the detective's report made it clear that he and McHugh were in close contact during the calls. Besides, the high court found, such information would not have likely changed the outcome of her case.

In 1980, another of Row's children, Keith, died in a California house fire that officials ruled accidental. A fourth child died of sudden infant death syndrome.

Row was sentenced to death on Dec. 16, 1993, by 4th District Judge Alan Schwartzman, who called her a pathological liar, citing her purchase of $276,000 in life insurance on her family in the year preceding their deaths and her admission that she was having an affair with a married man. Schwartzman also said the premeditated arson murders were "the final betrayal of motherhood," and "a descent into the blackened heart of darkness."

I did attempt to find a more recent posting for this case, I failed in that attempt.

Thanks for your time
And you can thank me for mine
And after that's said
Forget it.


She should be executed anytime now. It's been 17 years since her conviction. Time for her to go  :(
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.


I agree completely.  She needs to go.  It has been far too long, and apparently from what I read, she STILL claims she is innocent and that she is a victim.  ARGGGG.   >:(


Sorry to bump this but is there an update on this?
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.


I have found this article (unfortunately from...August 2010) :

July 9, 2011

August 6, 2010 in Idaho

Rebecca Boone

Associated Press

Only woman on Idaho death row appeals sentence

BOISE -- Attorneys for the only woman on Idaho's death row say Robin Lee Row's triple murder conviction should be thrown out because her trial attorneys didn't have the time or money to develop evidence that Row's brain had atrophied, and the damage may have hindered her decision-making abilities.

Row, now 52, was convicted of murdering husband Randy Row, 34, and her children from a previous marriage, Joshua Cornellier, 10, and Tabitha Cornellier, 8, by setting their duplex on fire in 1992. Row had two other children who died years earlier -- a baby who investigators said died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and a son named Keith who was killed in a 1980 California house fire that investigators ruled accidental.

Fourth District Judge Alan Schwartzman sentenced Row to death in 1993, calling her a pathological liar and citing her purchase of $276,000 worth of life insurance for her family the year before they died.

"Robin Row's actions represent the final betrayal of motherhood and embody the ultimate affront to civilized notions of maternal instinct," Schwartzman said during her sentencing. "Maternal 'pedocide' -- the killing of one's own children -- is the embodiment of the cold-blooded, pitiless slayer -- a descent into the blackened heart of darkness."

Row's appeals attorney, Teresa Hampton, told U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill on Thursday that her client's trial attorneys didn't do enough to develop evidence that could have resulted in a lesser sentence.

"There is significant and powerful mitigating evidence that should have been developed at trial," she said.

Row's childhood was marred by long-term sexual abuse and mentally ill family members, and her own medical history included evidence of mental illness, including serious suicide attempts, Hampton said.

But Hampton said a CT scan showing Row had brain atrophy is "the major red flag in this case" that, if explored, could have changed the outcome. Brain atrophy is a loss of brain cells and the connections between them, and it can occur for a number of reasons, including trauma and disease. The damage left by atrophy can sometimes lead to mental illness, dementia and other problems.

Row's trial attorneys did ask the court for money to hire an expert to evaluate Row's brain function and history, but the trial judge refused their request and instead referred them to the public defender's budget, Hampton said. The judge also refused to allow them additional time to investigate on their own, she said.

But Jessica Lorello, the deputy attorney general representing the state, said Row's trial attorneys were never deprived the money or the time they needed to come up with mitigating evidence.

"The court's position always was, 'I don't know why you can't take this out of the public defender's budget,"' Lorello said. "In terms of that social history evidence ... the court determined it ultimately wouldn't have made a difference."

Winmill said he would take the matter under advisement and could have a ruling in the next several weeks.







Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Judge rejects Idaho woman's death penalty appeal

REBECCA BOONE, Associated Press

Updated 07:08 p.m., Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed the appeal of the only woman facing the death penalty in Idaho but cleared Robin Row to ask a higher court to consider a handful of issues in the case.

Row, 53, was convicted of the 1992 killing of her husband and two children by setting their Boise duplex on fire. At her sentencing the following year, a judge said she was a pathological liar and "the embodiment of the cold-blooded, pitiless slayer."

Row's appeals bounced through the court system over the next several years as she said there were multiple problems with her case, including a contention that secret tape recordings of phone calls shouldn't have been allowed into evidence and a claim that she had brain damage. Row contended that if enough testimony about the condition had been presented in court, the case would likely have ended differently.

But in a 67-page ruling handed down Monday, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill rejected Row's claims with prejudice, meaning she can't file them again. Still, he gave her a certificate of appealability on some of the claims, essentially clearing the way for Row to ask the 9th Circuit Court to overturn his decision.

Those claims include Row's argument that her attorneys were ineffective at her sentencing hearing and that she was forced to wait too long to be arraigned on the murder charges. She also claimed misconduct by the prosecution.

Row can ask the 9th Circuit to reconsider the issues Winmill dismissed as well, but only if an appellate court first gives her permission.

Row's attorney, Teresa Hampton with Federal Defender Services of Idaho, said the case would be appealed. "We'll certainly take the available legal options for Miss Row," Hampton said.

According to court records, Robin Row and her husband, Randy Row, had a "mutually abusive" relationship. And Robin Row eventually moved out to live with a friend, Joan McHugh. Robin Row's two children from a previous marriage, 10-year-old Joshua Cornellier and 8-year-old Tabitha Cornellier, stayed with their stepfather.

On Feb. 10, 1992, Robin Row woke McHugh up at about 3 a.m., saying she had a feeling that something was wrong with her house.

The two drove over to the duplex, which was in flames and surrounded by emergency vehicles. Paramedics told Robin Row that her children and husband had been found dead.

Fire investigators later concluded that someone had intentionally set the fire, feeding the flames with a hot-burning petroleum product. The home's circuit breaker for the smoke detector was also shut off, and the furnace fan was set to run continuously, feeding the flames and circulating the smoke throughout the house. All three victims died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Days later detectives learned that Row had lost other children under suspicious circumstances years earlier: A baby who investigators said died of sudden infant death syndrome and a son who was killed in a 1980 California house fire that investigators ruled accidental. At that point, according to court records, police began to focus their investigation on Row.

Row was arrested on an unrelated grand theft charge, accused of stealing from her employer, and she stayed in jail while that case was moving forward because she couldn't post bond.

She began to call McHugh from jail, according to court records. Detectives persuaded McHugh to record the phone calls without telling Row. In her appeals, Row said the secret recordings violated her right to have an attorney present and should have been barred from the court case.

Winmill disagreed with the legal argument and added that Row did not prove that any error connected to the calls had a substantial and injurious effect on the verdict of the murder trial.

There was plenty of powerful circumstantial evidence, Winmill noted, including evidence that she'd taken out life insurance policies worth more than $275,000 on her husband and kids a few weeks before the fire. A witness said he saw a car matching Row's car near her home the night of the fire, and McHugh said she'd heard someone taking a shower and using a washing machine in the early morning hours.







October 01, 2011, 02:51:48 AM Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 02:54:04 AM by mlc2005
 ::)  I swear, if THIS case is overturned by the infamously pro-prisoner 9th circuit on some trivial issue like "ineffective assistance of counsel during her penalty phase," the 9th circuit will have lost what little credibility is has left.

There isn't a lot about this monster on the net, which intrigued me given the heinousness of her crimes; I found a book about the case written by a local author, Nancy Moore, who based it on interviews with all involved, her attendance of the trial, and Row herself:  "Deadly Confidante."  I am an avid true crime reader, and this book and Row's actions/behavior literally gave me chills.  Practically everything on line is pro-Robin Row (from some fan in Europe with no clue of the facts of course); her fan sites consist of complaints over feeling lonely, bad food, and worst of all, "missing my children." 

But here's what these gullible Robin Row supporters (who take everything she says as gospel) really need to know:  Robin is, without a shadow of a doubt, a violent sociopath who uses people and ruins people to get her way. Here's just a brief overview of what I learned about this "woman:" 

1) Her first child, an infant died when he choked on a "faulty" pacifier, conveniently when her husband was out of town on business. After collecting the money she won from suing the manufactuer, she headed west to California.

2) A few years after her infant died, her second son (now a toddler) died in a mysterious fire in her trailer (this coincided with a boyfriend threatening to leave her.  Her teenage sister, who was living with Row at the time, moved away from Row after this incident, convinced that she was next on Row's hit list.

3)  Row next surfaced in Idaho with a sob story of being a battered wife.  She tragically found work, via a good samaritan who felt sorry for her, at an office that helps poor women with children get assistance and back on her feet.  In the process she married and had two children.  While fooling everyone as the sweet, dependable, loving mother and professional, she was secretly stealing money from her job (as well as her job as weekly manager of a bingo hall.  When her husband started suggesting he was going to leave her, her husband and two children were burned alive in their own home, while Robin, of course, was staying at a friend's house. 

Despite taunting the police that they would never have the evidence to convict her, she was wrong:  Her best friend who stood by her passionately for months and months, finally came to the conclusion that her friend was a serial killer. The friend caught Robin red handed telling several different versions of the night of the fire, which were eventually discovered via wire tap. 

Most disturbing:  The smoke detectors (controlled by a circuit breaker) were mysteriously turned off that night; also, on the night of the fire, it was Robin who woke her friend up and said they needed to drive by her family home because she just "had this bad feeling that something was wrong."  Um okay?   

Bottom line:  This woman certainly killed her husband and two children (for revenge), and almost certainly (the police are absolutely convinced) killed her other two children, the infant and the toddler (who also burned to death).  She has shown no remorse for any of the killings, and spends her time complaining about being lonely.

If the 9th circuit determines this woman, after over a decade after trial, does not deserve death, there is no hope.   >:(


Death row inmate lands in Ada County Jail
February 02, 2017

BOISE -- Idaho's only female death row inmate is being temporarily held at the Ada County Jail for a mental evaluation.

Robin Lee Row, 59, was booked into the jail shortly after noon Wednesday.

Row was sentenced to death in December 1993 after she killed her family by setting fire to her Ada County home Feb. 10, 1992. She was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of her husband Randy Row and her two children, 10-year-old Joshua and 8-year-old Tabitha.

Investigators say Row had taken out substantial life insurance policies on the family shortly before the fire.

The mental evaluation that brought Row to Boise was ordered by Judge Lynn Winmill as part of her ongoing petition for a stay of execution, which was first launched in 1998, then reopened in 2013. Row has exhausted multiple appeals since her conviction. No execution date has been set.

Ada County Sheriff's Office spokesman Patrick Orr said that Row will be transported back to the Pocatello Women's Correctional Center once her evaluation is complete.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


give the scumbag a face....
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

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