Police: Tempe judge admits stabbing wife 10 times, said he and wife 'stonewalled' detectives
Posted September 26
CHANDLER, AZ — A Tempe judge is facing 10 counts of aggravated assault and has been placed on administrative leave after his wife told police he stabbed her nearly a dozen times.
Chandler police arrested Tempe Municipal Court Judge Thomas Robinson Friday. The City of Tempe said late Monday afternoon that "Robinson has filed for retirement effective this Thursday."
This goes back to the afternoon of Aug. 25 when police were called to Chandler Regional Medical Center to speak to a woman – Robinson's wife -- who had been stabbed multiple times.
According to the probable cause for arrest statement, Robinson, 55, told police he had gone for a walk that morning, leaving the door to the Chandler home he shares with his wife and family unlocked.
"He claimed he returned home to find items in the home damaged, and that [his wife] was injured with what appear to be stab wounds," court documents read. "He stated [his wife] told him an intruder entered their home and stabbed her multiple times."
The court documents also state that Robinson did not call the police and did not take his wife to the hospital for several hours because she did not want him to.
"Thomas claimed to have no idea who did this to his wife," according to the court paperwork. "He ultimately stated he did not want a police investigation or any prosecution."
When police spoke with Robinson's wife separately, she corroborated the story.
"She said that she did not know who did this to her," reads the court paperwork.
Fast forward nearly a month to Thursday, that story changed dramatically with a phone call to an emergency crisis line.
The person who took that call contacted Chandler police and "relayed that they were in contact with [Robinsin's wife] and she told them her husband had stabbed her.
It's not clear what precipitated the emergency crisis line call by Robinson's wife, but when officers responded and spoke with her, she told them Robinson was the one who stabbed her on Aug. 25, according to the probable cause for arrest statement.
"She said that at the time of the initial report, she claimed it was a stranger because she did not want Thomas to get in trouble," court documents read. "She said that she and Thomas had agreed as to the story they would tell when they went to the hospital."
During an interview with Robinson's wife on Thursday and a monitored phone call between her and Robinson on Friday, a new story began to emerge – one stemming with "suspicions of infidelity."
According to court documents, Robinson's wife said she was looking at his cell phone and came across a number she did not recognize. She said she called the number and a woman answered.
"She and Thomas then argued over her suspicions of infidelity," the court paperwork says.
According to the narrative in the probable cause statement, Robinson left the house and in her anger, his wife "started damaging items in their house."
"She caused significant damage, and put some of Thomas' personal prized possessions down the toilet and flushed it," court paperwork reads, although there was no indication as to what those "personal prized possessions" were.
It did not stop there.
Court documents go on to describe how Robinson's wife "then tried to kill herself by several methods, including drinking drain cleaner, household poisons, and by cutting a garden hose to run exhaust from the vehicle exhaust into the cab of the vehicle. When these efforts did not kill her, she laid [sic] down in bed."
According to court documents, that's where Robinson found her when he returned home and saw the "damage" she had done.
Police said Robinson's wife told them he stabbed her in the chest, back, arm and face.
"While doing so he made statements that he was going to kill her," according to the probable cause statement.
But he did not.
"They eventually went [to the hospital] because one of her injuries would not stop bleeding," according to police, and while en route they concocted the story of an unknown intruder.
Robinson's wife told investigators that she believed Robinson got rid of the bloody bedding and the knife he used to stab her. She also said she and her husband texted back and forth about digital photos he had taken of the damage she did at the house after their argument. Police said they located those text messages on her phone.
On Friday, a detective listened in on a phone call between the couple. Arizona allows for calls to be monitored and recorded if one party to the conversation consents.
During that call, police say Robinson's wife asked him about the stabbing.
"Thomas told her he remembered stabbing her," court paperwork reads. "He never used the word 'stab,' but he apologized specifically for what he 'did to her.' … He said he would have to live with the memory of doing that to her for the rest of his life."
Police said Robinson took it a step further.
"Thomas offered to kill himself if that was what she wanted," according to court documents. "When asked why he stabbed her, Thomas said he was in a 'rage' when he did it, and it scared him that he was capable of doing that to her."
After that monitored phone call, police arrested Thomas at Tempe City Court and read him his Miranda rights before interviewing him about his wife's allegations.
"Thomas initially denied stabbing [his wife]," according to court paperwork. "He made extensive statements about [his wife's] mental health issues."
As the interview progressed, police say Robinson stuck to the original story about an intruder stabbing his wife. Then details began to change.
According to police, Robinson said he and wife had argued on Aug. 23, two days before the stabbing, and that he had gone to stay at a hotel.
He said that when he returned from the hotel, he found his injured wife who "insisted he not call the police or paramedics." He also told police that she said she had tried to kill herself," according to court documents.
Police said Robinson spoke with them about the text messages he had exchanged with his wife about the incident. He was unable to show detectives, however, because his phone had been "destroyed by someone else (he declined to say who destroyed it)," according to court paperwork.
Investigators said Thomas eventually "admitted to knowingly stabbing [his wife] multiple times out of anger," corroborating what she had told detectives, even admitting that he tossed "the knife, bedding, and other evidence" in a commercial trash bin behind a Chandler business about a mile from his home.
"Thomas said that during the initial police investigation, he and [his wife] 'stonewalled' the detectives," according to the probable cause for arrest.
Robinson now faces 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of tampering with or destroying evidence, class 3 and class 6 felonies respectively.
Commissioner Paula Williams set Robinson's bail at $50,000 and mandated that he submit to electronic monitoring and a curfew should he post and be released.
Robinson, who has worked for the City of Tempe since 1995, is due back in court Friday for a status conference and then again on Oct. 3 for a preliminary hearing.
According to the City of Tempe, Robinson started as a civil traffic hearing officer and then became a court commissioner. He was appointed a municipal court judge in 2009, and hears misdemeanor criminal cases.
"He has been placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation," a City spokeswoman said in a statement e-mailed to 3TV and CBS 5 Monday. Hours later, Kris Baxter-Ging sent another email informing media outlets that "Robinson has filed for retirement effective this Thursday."