Friday, January 19, 2018
News Roundup

Suspected Tampa Soundgarden stalker has no arrests for violence

TAMPA — The woman accused of frightening a 50-year-old musician and his family with hostile tweets and her knowledge of their Miami home has no history of violence, her mother says, and Florida arrest records lend credence to that assertion.

Jessica Leigh Robbins, 32, made national news after federal authorities charged her Friday with stalking Chris Cornell, lead singer for the band Soundgarden, which is scheduled to perform in Tampa Aug. 11.

Mother Robin Robbins said she saw no sign of such behavior.

"She's never had any violent or dangerous tendencies," the mother told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday.

Red-headed, green-eyed Jessica Robbins, 5-foot-5, weighed 116 pounds in 2012 when arrested on a minor charge in the Jacksonville area, where she appears to have lived at one time.

Until the federal stalking complaint was signed Thursday by a New York FBI agent, she had drawn little notice from the courts. Adjudication was withheld on a drug paraphernalia charge seven years ago. She pleaded no contest twice to driving on a suspended license.

That was history Tuesday as television trucks invaded her quiet neighborhood a few blocks from the Taco Bus on Hillsborough Avenue.

Her mother was away but heard neighbors' reports. She said authorities took the daughter's cell phone, making communication with her difficult.

The Times obtained a transcript of Robbins' 20-minute appearance Friday in Tampa before Magistrate Judge Thomas G. Wilson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Palermo, standing in for a New York prosecutor, described Robbins as bipolar and off her medication.

"This is evocative, if you will, more of a Secret Service threats case than anything else in my mind, having reviewed the complaint and discussed it with the FBI agent," Palermo said.

The Secret Service is not involved in this case. But agents often screen threats and attempt to determine whether subjects really want to hurt someone or are in need of medical treatment.

The complaint listed an array of vulgar, threatening Internet posts ascribed to Robbins, including some that targeted Cornell's wife, Vicky.

"I forgive her, but I'm done playing games with her, she is not going to be able to hurt him ever again by the time I'm done with her," one of the few printable posts stated.

In contrast, Robbins' exchanges with the judge were polite. He ordered outpatient medical treatment. He gave her permission to travel to New York to face the charge there, wearing an ankle monitor. He also made sure she understood her rights and restrictions.

"Yes, sir," she answered him, repeatedly. At the end of the hearing, she said, "Thank you, your honor."

"Pardon?" he asked.

"Thank you," she said.

News researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Patty Ryan at [email protected] or (813) 226-3382.

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