As emotionally shaken family members looked on, Robert Lomas, the man accused of stabbing his wife to death who confessed to robbing 12 banks during the past five years, gave a wave to his family before prosecutors charged him with one count of murder and seven counts of robbery involving five banks.
Lomas, 51, stood in an orange prison uniform behind the courtroom glass Wednesday, holding a piece of paper to block his face from reporters in his first court appearance.
Lomas allegedly killed his 50-year-old wife Linda on Monday morning at her home on Huntington Avenue in unincorporated Redwood City. Lomas was arrested the same night and later confessed to being the so-called “Gilligan Robber,” named because of a fisherman hat worn by the robber during the heists.
There has been a previous incident of violence between Lomas and his wife of 30 years.
Last month, a court directed him to not harass his wife and enroll in a domestic violence program after his arrest for an incident on April 1, San Mateo County sheriff’s Lt. Lisa Williams said.
“He was supposed to show up today to prove that he enrolled in the domestic violence program,” said Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti. “Obviously, that whole thing isn’t the biggest of his problems right now.”
During police questioning Monday night, Lomas said he robbed 12 banks of approximately $15,000 since 2002, Redwood City Detective Jeff Price said. After a spate of bank robberies in 2002 and 2003, Lomas allegedly re-emerged last month, robbing banks in San Carlos, Redwood City and Mountain View between April 21 and May 11.
Prosecutors say Lomas was recently terminated from his job at an auto repair shop but would not speculate as to what role that may have played in the alleged robberies. Lomas has been charged with robbing only five banks because the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution is three years, Deputy District Attorney Al Giannini said.
“He has been very cooperative with police,” he said. “He appears to be genuinely remorseful for his conduct. What he did is not really in dispute.”
About a half dozen family members and friends attended the Wednesday hearing but offered no comment. Lomas’ neighbor, Harvey Lucien, described both Robert and Linda Lomas as hospitable, quiet people.
“You couldn’t get a nicer neighbor,” he said. “If anyone would’ve told me he knifed his wife, I wouldn’t have believed it. I never heard them argue.”
Lomas, who faces a 33-years-to-life prison sentence, is being held without bail and is scheduled to enter a plea June 1.
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