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Child Killer Sought in Slaying of Woman : Court Had Voided Death Sentence in Earlier Triple Murder

February 24, 1985

A 52-year-old man whose death sentence for killing his three children was voided by the California Supreme Court was the object of a manhunt Saturday for the slaying of a Sacramento woman.

Robert Henry Nicolaus was being sought in the gunshot slaying of Charlyse Robinson, 38, who was fatally wounded Friday while her 3-year-old daughter watched, Sacramento police said.

Robinson was shot twice by a man who stopped her car by blocking it in an alley, police said. She identified Nicolaus as her attacker shortly before she died at University of California Medical Center, they said.

Officers said Nicolaus and Robinson apparently were acquainted but that they did not know the relationship between the two.

Nicolaus was convicted in 1964 of killing his three children, aged 2, 5 and 7.

Nicolaus, a university graduate with a major in child psychology, was sentenced to death, but the state Supreme Court in 1967 reduced the conviction to second-degree murder.

3 Concurrent Terms

The court ruled that although Nicolaus was sane, he lacked the ability to understand the enormity of the act. He was resentenced to three concurrent terms of five years to life in prison.

The circumstances and date of Nicolaus' release from prison were not immediately known.

According to testimony at his 1964 trial, Nicolaus killed the children after his wife left him and it appeared he would not be given custody.

Trial records show that Nicolaus picked up the children on the pretext of having their picture taken, treated them to ice cream and candy, and then shot them to death in a rural area.

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