VISTA — A Fallbrook man pleaded not guilty to murdering his ex-girlfriend the night before her 34th birthday as he faced a judge in a Vista courtroom at his arraignment Nov. 30.
Michael David Robles, 43, is charged with first-degree murder and a special allegation charge of lying in wait for the alleged strangulation of a Carlsbad mother on Nov. 23.
Kathleen Cary Scharbarth’s body was found in a shallow grave in Fallbrook on Nov. 25.
Her birthday was Nov. 24.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Marshall Y. Hockett ordered no bail for Robles, who is locked inside the San Diego Central Jail awaiting his next court date, Jan. 18.
The special allegation charge makes him eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without parole, according to the court.
The lying in wait charge alleges that Robles was hiding in bushes around the victim’s residence the night of Nov.23, and as Scharbarth exited her door to say goodbye to her boyfriend, Robles snuck inside of her place and committed the heinous crime after she went back inside, according to reports.
Madison Scharbarth, the victim’s 13-year-old daughter, is said to have been sleeping inside.
Police said that Thanksgiving morning, Scharbarth’s boyfriend reported her missing from her home after he discovered the door unlocked and her 13-year-old daughter sleeping inside.
According to the North County Times, Deputy District Attorney Kelly Mok said the victim and Robles had dated off and on for about eight years until Scharbarth broke the relationship off and moved out of Robles’ Fallbrook home in February, but Robles continued to contact Scharbarth and pursue a relationship.
In mid-November, Scharbarth told Robles that she had a new boyfriend, and court records show she was granted a temporary restraining order against Robles a week before she was reported missing.
Robles had plane tickets and was scheduled to leave for Mexico the next day, Nov. 25, but was arrested that day instead, according to reports.
“Kathleen is gone and missed by so many people. He ruined her life and his life,” said Tony, a family friend of the Scharbarths for more than 60 years and a 47-year resident of University City.
He was at Kathleen Scharbarth’s funeral on Dec. 6, and left the packed church during the service and went outside.
“The only thing I can do is come outside,” he said. “I just got upset.”
Scharbarth leaves behind her daughter, Madison.
Kathleen Scharbarth’s brother, Michael, is a coach for a batting training center that helped raise more than $4,000 in donations to help secure Madison’s financial future.
On Dec. 3, Frozen Ropes Batting Cages in San Diego held a daylong of free batting practice sessions, with a requested donation of $15, according to the company.
“We’re trying to do as much as we can to help out the family,” said Curt Holcombe, marketing specialist for Frozen Ropes.
For those who wish to donate to the Madison Scharbarth fund, contact California Bank and Trust Encinitas branch at 135 Saxony Road, or call (760) 436-5226.