A judge has approved a forensic consultant as an expert witness in the case of a Wisconsin man that is accused of killing his wife in 1982.
On April 28, 1982, the body of 33-year-old Barbara Mendez was found at the Park City Credit Union where she worked. Barbara’s body was found bludgeoned to death. According to court documents, Barbara died from multiple blows to her head that likely came from a pry bar.
Barbara’s husband’s family worked in the furniture business and frequently used pry bars in their work. A member of the family turned a pry bar in to the police in 2003.
At the time of Barbara’s death, no charges were brought. Years later, Barbara’s daughters wrote to the television show Cold Justice, asking them to look into the case. Cold Justice ran a segment on the case and did an additional investigation.
The 2018 episode followed Steve Spingola, a former lieutenant detective with the Milwaukee Police Department, and prosecutor Kelly Siegler, who worked in the Harris County, Texas district attorney’s office for over 21 years. Singola and Siegler worked with local law enforcement and reviewed reports to investigate the unsolved crime.
Court documents show that Mendez began having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl the summer before his wife’s murder. Mendez told the girl that he wanted to marry her, but he couldn’t because the church did not approve of divorce. On the night of his wife’s death, Mendez reportedly saw the girl and told her that he was “footloose and fancy free now.” Mendez also coached the girl and his two daughters to lie to the police.
As a result of the Cold Justice investigation, Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek recommended that Robin Mendez be charged. Mendez was charged with first-degree intentional homicide.
Tool Mark Analysis Expert Witness
Mendez waived his right to a jury trial. His trial will be held before Oneida County Circuit Court Judge Jill Falstad in April. The prosecution filed a motion requesting forensic Christopher Robinson to be allowed as an expert witness.
Robinson is a forensic consultant who has over 20 years of experience in the forensic field. He spent over 12 years in law enforcement with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as a firearms examiner and with the Atlanta Police Department as a Director of the Atlanta Police Crime Lab. Robinson has been called by both prosecution and defense to provide expert testimony in the areas of: firearms and tool mark examination, shooting reconstructions, gunshot residue analysis, blood spatter analysis, and crime scene reconstruction. He has provided testimony in state and federal courts in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Iowa, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Virginia, Missouri, Kansas, Alabama, Minnesota, and Alaska. Robinson has worked on cases involving unintentional discharges of firearms, police shootings, homicides, suicides, and assaults.
One of Robinson’s areas of expertise is tool mark analysis, which is the process of examining the marks left at a crime scene and a tool that is believed to have been used in a crime to see if a positive match can be achieved. Tool mark analysis is controversial because no scientific studies validate tool mark analysis and no standardized protocol allows examiners to determine whether a particular mark came from a particular tool.
Judge Falstad approved Robinson as a witness.