'Gillian Robber' gets 12 years in prison

June 8, 2009 3:36:21 PM PDT
A 53-year-old man convicted of manslaughter for the fatal stabbing of his wife in 2007, and of seven felony robbery counts for a string of bank robberies that earned him the nickname "Gilligan Robber," was sentenced in San Mateo County Superior Court today to 12 years in state prison.

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Robert Lomas, who was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in April for the May 21, 2007, death of 50-year-old Linda Lomas, whom he had known since they were both 16, sat at the defense table in an orange jail jumpsuit and did not make a statement.

Prior to the sentencing, Lomas' defense attorney Richard Keyes asked Judge Clifford Cretan to consider Lomas' "error-free" behavior in jail for the past two years.

He added that Lomas held a steady job before the crimes occurred, and that the killing of his wife was committed in "deep passion" because Lomas thought his wife was cheating on him.

"The rage that occurred on May 21 was a product of a long spiral in an attempt to over-control himself," Keyes said. "He did not reach out for help. He lost it."

Prosecutor Ivan Nightengale, however, told Cretan that Lomas' explosive temper is exactly why he deserves a long sentence.

"Mr. Lomas' inability to control his rage is the whole reason we're here," Nightengale said. "It's what led to the untimely death of his wife."

Nightengale also referenced Lomas' testimony at the trial, in which he described punching his wife so hard her dentures fell out before stabbing her to death.

After he stabbed her, Lomas testified he then "left her in a pool of her own blood," took her cell phone and walked to a nearby store to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Then he called 911 to report his wife's death -- but not to summon help to save her, Nightengale said.

After the sentencing, juror Susan Mairs of Menlo Park said she had wanted Lomas to be convicted of second-degree murder and was appalled at his sentence.

"We all have to take responsibility for our actions," Mairs said.

"He definitely...could have stopped, but he picked up a knife and stabbed her 12 times."

She said that among members of the jury, she had felt the most strongly that Lomas committed second-degree murder, but said she agreed to convict him of voluntary manslaughter to avoid a mistrial.

Lomas' sentence also includes time for his conviction on seven felony counts of robbery. Lomas committed a string of bank robberies throughout the Bay Area that earned the nickname "Gilligan Robber" due to the floppy, fisherman-style hat he wore during the crimes.

With credit for time served, Lomas will likely serve less than 10 years in prison, Nightengale said.

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