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Killers' Sentences Leave Victims' Families Shocked

A district attorney said a plea bargain was the best course in light of the physical evidence available and a claim of self-defense.

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SMITHFIELD, N.C. — The families of two people killed, dismembered and buried beneath a farmhouse near Selma are upset about the sentences the killers have received, but prosecutors say it’s the best they could do with the evidence they had.

On Monday, Robert B. Pollard pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and his wife, Cecilia Louise Pollard, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the 1997 slayings of Caesar Ortiz and Robin Clark.

Robert Pollard will serve eight to 10 years while his wife will serve five to seven years. Ortiz’s and Clark’s families were shocked about the sentence.

“I mean, how are you gonna shoot somebody in the back of the head, cut them up in pieces and get five years?” said Brenda Rodriguez-Herrera, Robin Clark’s sister.

The assistant district attorney said Robert Pollard, generally known as Bobby, had a viable claim of self-defense when he killed Caesar Ortiz. Louise Pollard claimed all along that Robin Clark committed suicide. The result was a plea bargain.

“We didn't have enough” physical evidence, Assistant District Attorney Ann Kirby said. “What was done to the bodies, as gruesome as it may be after the deaths, does not come into play.”

While the victims’ families are distressed, the district attorney’s office said a trial jury could have given the Pollards even less time out of sympathy for their emotional trauma. The Pollards lost two young children in a house fire in 1993.

When they died, Caesar Ortiz was 23 and Robin Clark 16. Clark was Louise Pollard’s niece.
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Scott Mason, Reporter
Richard Adkins, Photographer
Ron Gallagher, Web Editor

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