6.30.2010

TS - Robin Bradshaw sentenced to 12 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter of wife

Robin Bradshaw sentenced to 12 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter of wife
Matt Drange/The Times-Standard
Posted: 06/30/2010 01:30:26 AM PDT

Family members of Monica Bradshaw remembered the woman who was killed and secretly buried by her husband more than two years ago during the sentencing of Robin Stuart Bradshaw on Tuesday.
”I love you more than my freedom, my home or my life,” read a letter written by Monica Bradshaw to her husband that was shared by niece Melissa Lawson in court. “Till the day I die I'll love you.”

Lawson said that the letters were typical of teenage lovers, and were not the foundation for a strong marriage. Along with the letters, Lawson brought a poster with photos of Monica Bradshaw.
”She was a gentle woman. She was beautiful, and he took her from us,” Lawson said, struggling to fight back tears. “In my opinion, the defendant is a coward. No prison sentence can restore Monica back to us. I often wonder now who she would have become had he not entered her life.”
Robin Bradshaw, 57, was sentenced to 12 years in prison as part of a plea deal with the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office. He was also ordered to pay $15,000 and was ordered to serve three years of parole following his release.

Robin Bradshaw was initially arrested June 12, 2009, and charged with the murder of his wife. But the District Attorney's Office did not feel that it could successfully prosecute Robin Bradshaw without the body of Monica Bradshaw -- his wife of some 30 years.

In exchange for the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, Robin Bradshaw revealed the location of Monica Bradshaw's body, which he buried after beating her with a metal bar. A forensic analysis later revealed blunt trauma to be the cause of death.

Judge Joyce Hinrichs made the decision to stick with the conditions of the plea bargain on Tuesday, citing the coroner's reports that did not dispute Robin Bradshaw's testimony of the incident. Hinrichs said she found Robin Bradshaw's actions after he killed his wife -- which included impersonating Monica Bradshaw over the phone in an attempt to submit an insurance claim on her car -- to be “despicable,” but said that she would go forward with the ruling for voluntary manslaughter.

”Justice is not always what one side or the other wants to be done,” Hinrichs said, adding that coming to the decision was not easy. “I make this ruling not because it is justice to the family, but because without it, there would be no justice at all.”

Robin Bradshaw's attorney Peter Martin said that his client took a polygraph test when he gave his deposition about the events of a fight between the couple, and that he complied with his end of the plea deal by revealing the location of Monica Bradshaw's remains.

”He is remorseful for the wrongdoing that he did,” Martin said. “He is here today to receive justice for the crimes he committed.”

Monica Bradshaw, 53 at the time of her death, was last seen by neighbors in mid-August 2008. She was never reported missing.

Caroline Sheffield, Monica Bradshaw's sister, said she remembered feeling dumbstruck when she got the phone call that her sister had been killed.

Sheffield detailed for the court the early life of her sister, who she said ran away from home at the age of 16 to live with Robin Bradshaw's family. The two married when Monica Bradshaw turned 18, and Sheffield said that her sister was too stubborn to get out of the marriage when things got bad.

”She only wanted to be loved,” Sheffield said, adding that the 12-year sentence was not enough. “It's a slap in the face. It's a joke.”

Sheffield said the plea deal reached between Bradshaw and the District Attorney's Office in December of last year was made without ever consulting the family. Sheffield said that she is “extremely disappointed” in District Attorney Paul Gallegos.

”It's a never ending. It's like a nightmare that we can't get rid of,” Sheffield said. “We just want this to be over.”

Matt Drange can be reached at 441-0514 or
mdrange@times-standard.com.