KELOWNA – Grace Robotti calmly reported to police that her granddaughter-in-law was missing just a few days after she killed her with 26 strikes of a metal bar.
Grace Elinor Robotti is on trial for the second degree murder of Roxanne Louie, the mother of Robotti’s granddaughter and former girlfriend of her grandson. She admits she killed her during a fight but says it was unintentional.
In her B.C. Supreme Court trial, Crown played an audio recording and a portion of a video recording taken during two separate interviews. RCMP conducted both interviews before Louie’s body was found face down, covered in snow in a wooded area Jan. 11, 2015.
Const. Adam Burton took the initial report Jan. 7, 2015, just three days after Grace’s brother, Pier Robotti, dumped her body in a secluded forest near Naramata. As far as police knew, the 65-year-old woman was just a concerned family member.
“She appeared very calm, she was concerned for the well-being of Roxanne as well as her son,” he said. “She seemed generally concerned about not hearing from Roxanne.”
Burton asked Robotti about Louie’s activities leading up to the disappearance, what kind of mother she was, any known drug addictions and drinking habits. When asked how regularly Louie would disappear, Robotti says it happens but rarely for longer than a couple days.
“I wasn’t concerned at first, just mad,” she says on the recording. “The only thing that concerned me is she had her landlord trying to call her because her rent was due. She always has financial troubles.”
Robotti says on the recording Louie had no addictions but drank alcohol from time to time. Robotti also mentioned that Louie’s house was always dirty and she spent money frivolously.
“She always claims she has financial problems but… she always buys clothes and she got a tan one day.”
On Jan. 9, 2015, two days before the brother and sister confessed to police, the RCMP’s lead investigator brought Robotti in for a second interview. This time it was recorded on video and a portion was played for jurors in Kelowna today, March 21.
Robotti is crying when she sits down but composes herself quickly and recounts details of the days prior to the disappearance. She tells Const. Andrew Kelly Grant that Louie was often volatile and describes several fights she got into since the two first met in 2011. Robotti also implies Louie was unreliable and prone to impulsive decisions.
On Tuesday Grace Robotti pleaded guilty to interfering with the body but not guilty to second-degree murder.
The trial is scheduled for roughly one month after which the results of Pier Robotti's court proceedings can be released.
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