Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jury finds man guilty of murdering Clearwater couple

LARGO — Richard T. Robards, standing in a dark suit with a ponytail resting on his back, didn't show a hint of emotion as a jury found him guilty of murdering a Clearwater couple in 2006.

In the hallway outside of the courtroom, friends and family members of Frank and Linda Deluca erupted into a cheer and thanked prosecutors Fred Schaub and Christie Ellis.

"You saw justice done today," said Joseph John Deluca, brother of Frank.

"I told you, eventually justice is going to come through," Schaub said to more than a dozen family members in the hallway.

The same jury that convicted Robards on Friday will meet Tuesday to recommend whether Robards should receive the death penalty. If not, the only other possible sentence is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Robards, 42, is a former title-winning bodybuilder who once worked as a personal trainer for the Delucas. Testimony indicated Robards killed them because he wanted to steal their safe, which contained $80,000. He never got the safe opened.

After stabbing the Delucas, Robards set their Murray Avenue house on fire in an attempt to burn evidence, Schaub said. But he wasn't smart enough to open windows, which would have provided enough oxygen to keep the fire going. The house was damaged, but not destroyed.

And in that house, police found a newspaper with Robards' fingerprint. They also found DNA evidence linking Robards to the crime. And in Robards' storage unit, they found a rifle that belonged to Frank Deluca, Schaub said.

"He's not the brightest bulb in the house," Schaub said of Robards, calling him "the world's dumbest criminal."

Defense attorney Larry C. Hoffman said the state's case was circumstantial, and that the murder weapon had never been found.

Hoffman on Friday urged jurors to carefully review the evidence and pay attention to anything that gave them a "reasonable doubt" about whether Robards was the murderer.

"You're going to make a life-and-death decision if you find Mr. Robards guilty," he said.

Curtis Krueger can be reached at (727) 893-8232 or

Jury finds man guilty of murdering Clearwater couple 05/21/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 21, 2010 10:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kriseman gets 2nd police union endorsement


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement
  2. Vision Zero strategy for safer Hillsborough roads: repaint, narrow lanes, educate


    TAMPA — What would it take to eliminate all traffic deaths in the county that has the most of them?

    Josephine Winiarz, left, and Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp, center, help paint a bike lane on the Bullard Parkway Bridge in Temple Terrace in April. Brighter lanes to make motorists more aware are among the solutions developed to cut pedestrian fatalities [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. For starters: Rays vs. Blue Jays: Looking to make it 2 in a row


    Coming off Sunday's win over the Mariners - just their fourth in the last 16 games - the Rays are looking to make it two in a row tonight as they take on the Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series.

    The teams played last week in Toronto, with the Blue Jays taking three of four.

    RHP Chris …

    Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays.
  4. Commissioner Manfred to visit Trop Wednesday for Rays-Blue Jays


    Commissioner Rob Manfred is slated to be at the Trop on Wednesday.

    And so is Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg.

    And they are scheduled to meet with the media.

    But before you get excited - or riled up - know it's not to make any big announcement on the stadium or the overall future …

    Commissioner Rob Manfred is slated to be at the Trop on Wednesday.
  5. Bucs running back's gamble pays off for his mom


    TAMPA — When Peyton Barber decided to leave Auburn after his sophomore year, with only one season as a starting running back, it was a risky decision, one he hoped would let him help out his family back home in suburban Atlanta.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber (43) takes the field with an American flag before a preseason game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times