Edmonton senior who killed son-in-law may die in prison, judge says

Roberto Robles will serve a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 years for killing his son-in-law, an Edmonton judge ruled Friday.

No chance of parole for 10 years for Roberto Robles, 75

Roberto Robles at Edmonton police headquarters the night of his arrest in June 2016. (Edmonton Police Service)

Roberto Robles will serve a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 years for killing his son-in-law, a judge ruled Friday.

Robles, 75, convicted in June for the 2016 killing of 38-year-old Armando Cosmea Aspillaga, will not be eligible for parole for at least 10 years — the minimum possible parole eligibility period for a second-degree murder conviction.

"There's a distinct possibility [Robles] will live out his days in a federal penitentiary," Court of Queen's Bench Justice Dawn Pentelechuk said in her sentencing decision.

Aspillaga died after being shot with a pellet gun, slashed and stabbed at his Edmonton Riverbend home in June 2016.

He was separated from Robles' daughter and the couple were involved in a custody dispute over their daughter.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Robles' daughter, Flavia Robles, met Aspillaga at a wedding in Cuba in late 2009. They got married a year later, but Aspillaga had to wait another year before he could immigrate to Canada.

After his arrest, Roberto Robles told police he tried very hard at first to help his son-in-law find success, including driving him to English lessons and attempting to help him find work. But he was not impressed with what he saw as Aspillaga's lack of motivation.

In his police interview, Robles referred to Aspillaga as "a worthless rat."

Armando Cosmea Aspillaga shown in a Facebook photo with his newborn daughter. (Facebook)

Pentelechuk said she accepted that even though Robles said cruel things about Aspillaga in his police interview, she believed that with the passage of time he has shown true remorse and understands the effects of his actions.

Robles was born in 1942 in Chile and played professional soccer before moving to El Salvador and eventually Canada. 

He had three children and volunteered in their activities throughout their childhood. His family was financially successful. 

"Until these events he was a model citizen ... he poses no threat or danger to society," Pentelechuk told court Friday.

Robles now walks with a cane and the judge noted he shows signs of the early onset of dementia. Once in prison, he will be at risk of rapid physical and mental decline, Pentelechuk said. 

'He has lost everything'

The possibility that Robles may die in prison helps to serve the principle of deterrence required in sentencing, she said. 

"Because of his actions, he has lost everything he built in his lifetime."

Pentelechuk said the Crown did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt the murder was a "vigilante" killing, committed in response to the separation proceedings that were happening between Robles' daughter and Aspillaga.

At times, the judge spoke directly to Aspillaga's mother Georgina, who cried through much of the sentencing hearing.

"Your grief is profound," Pentelechuk said.

Robles' daughter, Flavia, was not in court for the sentencing. 

When the judge finished her decision, Robles looked at his family and used his cane to walk toward the holding cells.