Arguably, one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies is Hamlet, the play where Hamlet agonized over seeking vengeance against his uncle Claudius, for murdering his father, the King. Steve Robarts was only 38 when he died suddenly of a heart attack. One year later while listening to the lines of Claudius the false King in a copy of the play, his daughter Marie reacted strangely to Robart’s death.
Dallas and Fortworth Texas – Metroplex – is the largest amalgamated cosmopolitan area in Texas. It has the dubious reputation of being known for the assassination of JFK in 1963. 16-year-old Marie Robarts moved in with her father after an argument with her mother’s new husband. Robarts was happy to have his daughter move in with him. They got along swimmingly. Marie was popular, pretty and studious.
February 17, 1993 – Robarts attended an evening church service. When he returned home he informed his girlfriend and Marie that he had severe stomach cramps. Hours later, Robarts went into a coma-like state, foaming at the mouth. Marie stood by and watched her father die. By the time the ambulance arrived, the man was dead. Strangely, his heart was only mildly enlarged.
At Robart’s funeral, Marie asked her mother if she could live with her again. Her mother refused; she and her second husband were moving to Florida and had no intention of taking Marie with them. Marie went to live with her grandparents. She received $60,000.00 from Robart’s life insurance. Marie used it to attend the University of Texas.
Mid-way through her first year, police began investigating Robart’s death. Something about it just didn’t sit right with them. One evening, Marie’s friend Stacey Hyde began reading from Hamlet. Marie froze then broke down crying. She admitted she stole poison from her chemistry class a year earlier while still in high school. One week later, Marie mixed the poison into Robart’s dinner. The poison she used mimicked the signs of a heart attack. The autopsy hadn’t detected the poison. Marie swore Stacey to secrecy.
After Marie’s confession, Stacey had nightmares. She heard Robarts’ voice calling to her from the grave. Finally, Stacey informed her mother about Marie’s confession, who then contacted police. Police arrested Marie and took her to the police station for questioning. After only a few minutes Marie broke down and admitted to the murder. She was neither guilt-ridden nor cagey with police. She was very forthcoming about killing Robarts. The one question police wanted answered was why? “I wanted to live with my mother,” Marie shrugged. The irony was that Marie hadn’t known her mother was moving to Florida around the time Robarts died, and that she wasn’t going to bring her daughter with her. So much for her quest to live with her mother. And her mother wasn’t even a Queen.
Marie was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to 27 years in prison. To her friends and relatives Marie was an enigma. She was the last person they would ever have suspected of Robart’s murder. But as Shakespeare once wisely penned, “the truth will out.”