Testimony on Behalf of Kathy's Law

In the spring of 2012, Ginny Scharbarth, Kathy's mother, spoke before the California congress in support of AB 2467. AB 2467 would later be renamed Kathy's Law. Below is her testimony:

Good Morning. My name is Ginny Scharbarth. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you today.

I understand that AB 2467 – Victim Safety through GPS Monitoring is being considered. This proposed bill has personal and significant importance to me. 

At the end of February, 2011, our daughter, Kathleen Cary, moved out of the home she shared in Fallbrook with David Robles. She told my husband and me that his behavior had become volatile and frightening. She said he was erratic, forceful, and threatening. Kathy was scared for her safety and for that of her 13 year old daughter, Madison. Kathy devised an exit plan and moved into a condo ten minutes from us. 

For the next ten months Dave called, emailed, texted, and badgered her. Kathy said if she didn’t respond to his messages he would show up at her door. She always was on “Dave patrol” trying to keep peace. She focused on Madison and her furniture import business. 

On Veterans Day weekend Kathy went with a few friends for a getaway. She called and told me she had met someone amazing named Dan. When Dave found out about her new friend his calls, texts, and emails became relentless day and night and the stalking began. 

In court documents Kathy wrote, “I have asked, begged and demanded that Michael David Robles leave me alone. He told me on November 15th cannot do that. I am trying to move on with my life and I do not want any contact with him.” Kathy added, “On November 16th to my house in an unidentified vehicle and stalked the outside of my home. 

He was lying down in the driver's seat and then disappeared from the car. He later moved the car and approached me and my friend acting erratically and I was scared. I asked him to leave as I did earlier in the day when he showed up unannounced. He pushed me out of the way and barged into my home to confront my friend. He yelled and acted hostile but eventually left when I threatened to call the police. He later asked a friend to use another vehicle to come to my house again since the police would be able to identify his car. A day earlier he threatened to beat my new friend to a bloody pulp if he saw us together.” 

Kathy was granted a temporary restraining order on Nov. 17, 2011. David Robles immediately violated the restraining order. He left streaming voicemails, texts, and emails. A neighbor of Kathy’s reported seeing Dave hiding in some bushes near her property less than two hours before he took her life. 

On Thanksgiving Eve, November 23, Kathy walked Dan to his car at 11:30 p.m. While she was outside, Robles snuck into her residence, laid in wait, and strangled Kathy when she returned. Madison slept upstairs unaware her mother was fighting for her life. Had AB 2467 been a law, Dave would have been ordered to wear a GPS device. Kathy would have been alerted that he was nearby. I’m confident it would have saved her life. 

On November 24, 2011, Thanksgiving Day, seven days after she obtained the restraining order my sweet daughter was dead. This Thanksgiving was to be special as it fell on Kathy’s birthday. We were hosting Thanksgiving dinner and a birthday party. That morning I called Kathy to wish her a happy birthday. I tried several times and each time it went directly to voicemail. Kathy’s birthday turned out to be her death day. 

How many more innocent women have to die before the courts place substance behind restraining orders? It is time electronic monitoring devices are used to protect a victim who is being harassed and fear for their life. The odds are great that unless we put more emphasis on protecting victims there will be countless more people that will lose their lives to domestic violence. Kathy was given a piece of paper that was no defense against a belligerent ex-boyfriend. The day she received the restraining order she texted a family friend. It read, “Today I am empowered.” The restraining order gave her a false sense of security and made matters worse by inciting Dave. AB 2467 will turn the written order into real and tangible protection. It will give victims the opportunity to take control of their lives and not live in constant fear of their perpetrator who may be lying in wait as David Robles was.

Kathy was a beautiful person inside and out. She was a respectful daughter, loving sister, and devoted mother. Kathy was unique and loved by a community. In her brother’s eulogy he described his sister as the queen of random acts of kindness. Over 1100 people attended her funeral. She wasn’t a celebrity or public official. She was just a remarkable and special young woman. This tragedy has left us without a daughter, siblings without a sister, and a daughter without a mother. I’m sure there are some of you who have daughters. I wonder if any of you have buried a daughter as we have. Our lives will never be the same. There will always be a void in our hearts. 

AB 2467 – Victim Safety through GPS Monitoring, that you are considering is the responsible avenue to protect those who fear for their lives. I understand there is a fiscal aspect to consider with every proposed bill. I’m unclear how you put a price on human life, but I do know that Kathleen Cary’s life was priceless. 

Thank you.