Trip trouble: Kroboth remains jailed as travel permit questioned
An unwelcome January visit to his college-aged son in Oregon has already cost Kurt Kroboth two months of freedom, and a judge ruled on Wednesday, March 13, that the convicted attempted murderer will remain behind bars until the court can determine whether he violated the terms of his travel permit.
"It's ambiguous at best," argued Kroboth's court-appointed attorney, Charlottesville Deputy Public Defender Liz Murtagh, pointing out that the permit Kroboth filled out prior to his early January trip listed San Francisco as his destination but allowed him seven days between his January 5 departure from his Green Valley, Arizona home–where he's lived since his February 2011 release–to his planned arrival in the city by the bay. "There's nothing that says he's not allowed to go to Oregon," Murtagh said.
According to a Eugene, Oregon police report filed in Albemarle Circuit Court, Kroboth showed up at his estranged son's residence at the University of Oregon on January 7. His son, who was not home at the time of his visit but reportedly was alerted to Kroboth's presence by roommates, contacted police, who discovered Kroboth sitting in his girlfriend's Toyota Land Cruiser outside his son's residence on January 8.
Kroboth presented his travel permit and, after speaking with his Arizona probation officer who instructed him to return home, expressed to police a plan to continue on his trip. University of Oregon Police then issued a no-trespass order banning him from the campus, and Kroboth left the school.
If he was initially resistant to cutting his trip short, his attorney said, he quickly changed his mind.
"The same day he was instructed to leave, he did leave," said Murtagh, pointing out that Kroboth– not due to return home until January 20– made no threats to anyone and returned immediately to Arizona where he was arrested on the probation violation charge on January 11. Kroboth was then transferred back to the court system in Virginia, which had granted him permission to live in Arizona upon his release and which still oversees his probation.
As previously reported in the Hook, Kroboth was convicted in 2006 of the attempted murder of his wife, Jane, after he donned a vampire mask on Halloween night 2004, cut the phone and power to the stately Albemarle County house they'd once shared, and attacked her while she was sleeping. His wife, awakened by the masked assailant, successfully fought him off. Kroboth was apprehended on foot soon after the attack, and police recovered evidence including a chloroform-soaked rag, a knife and the mask. Other evidence in the case included testimony that Kroboth had first tried to hire someone else to kill his wife.
He pleaded guilty to both attempted murder and breaking and entering with the intent to commit murder and served seven years of a 10-year sentence, but has maintained that he was the victim of an "overreaching prosecution" and that he never intended to seriously harm his ex-wife.
Taking the stand in his own defense in the probation violation hearing, the 57-year-old former financier, shackled and wearing the striped uniform of the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail, where he's been housed since February 20, described 11 other trips he'd taken with his Arizona probation officer's permission in the two years since he was released from prison.
On his frequent trips transporting his aging parents between their winter home in Arizona and their summer residence in Wisconsin, Kroboth testified, he was permitted to list one destination with the understanding that he could travel to other places within the dates of the trip.
"The travel order allows him to go to San Francisco. It does not allow Mr. Kroboth the freedom to alter those plans," said Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford, claiming that the travel permit allowed him to travel between Arizona and San Francisco but not beyond.
"If this were a situation where Mr. Kroboth stopped in L.A., we wouldn't be here," she said, noting that Eugene, Oregon, is hundreds of miles north of San Francisco.
The purpose of the travel permit "is so the probation officer knows where the defendant will be," mused Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Higgins, who denied Kroboth's request for bond and ordered him held until his Arizona probation officer can be consulted about travel permit policy.
Another hearing is scheduled for April 9.Read more on: Kurt Kroboth