A Murder In Montclair: Random Or Not?

There’s a little more news related to Joe Robertson’s death yesterday:  his murder may not be random.  Our City Council Rep Libby Schaaf spoke directly with Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan about the crime.  She then shared this update with Montclarions earlier today, and we wanted to make sure you read it:

I just received a updated briefing from Chief Jordan on the apparent homicide of Joseph Robertson on Thackeray.  While I’m not allowed to share most of what he told me, I may share that police have strong reason to believe this was a homicide but that it was not random.  I will continue to stay briefed on the investigation and share with you whatever is allowed.  Anyone with any information should call 510-238-3821.  If you have any trouble getting your information through to this number, don’t hesitate to email or call Dorie or me.  We know how unacceptably disturbing this incident must be.  Please let us know if there is anything we can do at this troubling time.

Your Councilmember,
Libby Schaaf
510-238-7004

Update: As of March 13th, Council Rep Schaaf reports about a person of interest who “remains in custody on an unrelated charge. This person does have a connection to the victim (thus is not a random intruder). I’m hoping there’ll be more to share in about a week. The investigation has been productive, but is not concluded and no charges have been brought yet.”

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A Murder In Montclair: Joe Robertson

We don’t experience violent crimes around here, right?  Not anymore.  Sometime between last night and this morning, a Piedmont Pines resident was murdered.  Victim Joe Robertson was found dead in his home, early this morning.

While Robertson’s death hasn’t been officially ruled as a homicide by Oakland Police, all signs point to the crime.  The police will make things official, after the autopsy’s performed tomorrow.  In the meantime, we want to share this hearsay from Montclair Safety’s Yahoo board.

Piedmont Pines neighbor, Jane:   A 78-year-old man, Joe Robertson, was found dead and the word is it is a homicide.  He lived at 2339 Thackeray Drive (map) near Girvin Drive in the Piedmont Pines area. His neighbor told us that he was beaten to death.  Evidently he was found at 7:00 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 by a friend who was visiting and called the police.  This has really shaken us up in the neighborhood.

Of course, the death is getting well-covered by the press.  Check out this CBS5 report from Thackeray Drive, complete with yellow tape, an Alameda County homicide vehicle and key interviews.  Harry Robertson, the victim’s nephew, said “I’m concerned that he [Joe] could be an innocent victim.  There’s no reason to believe that anybody would want to hurt him.”

The  Tribune provided an early obituary about Joe Robertson, a good guy who loved movies and made regular visits to Fentons Creamery.  Before retiring a decade-plus ago, he had operated the halftone camera at the Montclarion newspaper.  Columnist  Ginny Prior said she spotted and waved to him last night, at their church’s Ash Wednesday service.

“A Murder in Montclair” doesn’t sound quite right.  “Burglary of the Week” is more our speed.  So it’s natural to put two and two together, and assume that Joe was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Let’s try to solve this mystery soon.

P.S.  We do experience violent crimes, albeit infrequently.  Back in 2006, Hans Reiser killed his estranged wife Nina and buried her near Redwood Regional Park.  It took two years to solve this case and sentence Hans.

Montclarions Chilled – Nina’s Been Found

We are all pretty chilled by this unexpected news about Nina Reiser.  As a bargaining chip, Hans Reiser was brought back to Montclair this afternoon to show authorities where he buried his estranged wife.

Nina was located in a four-foot ditch near the West Ridge Trail, in Redwood Regional Park.  I shudder while thinking about how many times I walked right by her grave.  This was not exactly a remote spot!

CBS News Producer Paul LaRosa filed this report a little while ago.   We all remember the Hans Reiser case, and the defenses including Nina’s escape to Russia.  As LaRosa said, “that puts a lie to his story.”

I’m sickened about this visit to the Hills today.  With Nina’s body as evidence, Hans might be able to prove the murder wasn’t pre-meditated.  This means the sentence could be reduced from 25/life down to 15/life instead.  Not that this brings back Nina or changes his kids’ lives in Russia.

Do you recall when Nina first went missing?  In Montclair, we were all horrified by this disappearance for a few days and hoped for the best.  But those flyers were up long after we knew better.  Years later, Hans was convicted of her murder due to overwhelming circumstantial evidence.

Our famous murder case is no longer a mystery.  Even though this closes the sordid tale, it will remain chilling for the Reisers’ neighbors.