Q: What ever happened to the Robert Earl Pope homicide in Fair Oaks on June 19, 1966? I believe his wife was killed also.
Rachel Whittington, Citrus Heights
A: Sharon Pope, 26, of Folsom testified during a coroner’s inquest in June 1966, that her husband, Robert Pope, 35, was fatally stabbed as the couple fought following a night of drinking.
According to stories in The Sacramento Bee, the fight was the culmination of months of marital conflict. The couple had been drinking, and Sharon Pope told the jury she had accused her husband of being in a bar with a woman. She said her husband became violent, striking and kicking her, and she got two knives to frighten him.
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She said she told her husband she didn’t want to fight anymore, but he swung at her and that’s when he was stabbed. Sharon Pope said she tried to stop the bleeding but could not remember removing the knife or calling police. Her husband died on the way to the hospital with a 4-inch stab wound in his chest.
The coroner’s jury of five men and four women split 5-4, with the five men voting that Sharon Pope was responsible for her husband’s death and should be tried, The Bee reported. One of the men cited a lack of evidence presented during the inquest, saying that “there should be a trial to bring out more facts.” However, some of the women on the jury complained to the district attorney that the verdict at the inquest had been “railroaded.”
District Attorney John M. Price overrode the coroner’s jury and dropped the case, saying he believed the killing was justifiable self-defense.