SAN DIEGO – A judge Monday appointed a new attorney to defend Oceanside resident Peter Robbins — the voice of Charlie Brown in several Peanuts films and television specials — against charges that he threatened his girlfriend and the doctor who performed her breast enhancement surgery.
A bail review hearing had been scheduled for Robbins, but he told Judge David Szumowski that he wanted to change attorneys, prompting the jurist to relieve attorney Marc Kohnen and appoint the Public Defender’s Office to represent the defendant. The bail review was taken off calendar.
The defendant faces up to nine years in prison if convicted of two counts of stalking and 10 counts of making criminal threats, said Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth McClutchey.
Robbins, 56, was taken into custody the night of Jan. 20, coming back into the United States from Mexico, after authorities learned of a warrant for his arrest.
At the defendant’s arraignment last Wednesday, McClutchey urged Judge David Szumowski to keep the defendant’s bail at $550,000 because it was the alleged victims’ perception that Robbins was a “desperate man” and “had nothing to lose.”
The prosecutor also said Robbins had purchased a gun but had not yet received it, and had practiced firing a gun at a shooting range.
McClutchey alleged that on Dec. 31, Robbins threatened Dr. Lori Saltz, who had performed breast enhancement surgery on his girlfriend, Shawna Kern.
According to a declaration in support of the arrest warrant, Saltz told authorities that Robbins had paid for the surgery and follow-up appointments.
Kern, of Los Angeles, told authorities she was staying at a hotel in Carlsbad when she was involved in a domestic violence incident with Robbins in which he allegedly grabbed her by the neck and demanded that she go with him to get back the money he paid for her breast enhancement surgery.
Kern said her relationship with Robbins ended after that, and he began calling Saltz’s office demanding his money back, according to the court document.
McClutchey said Saltz stayed at a hotel because she was fearful of Robbins, and also hired an armed guard for her business.
The prosecutor alleged that Robbins left several threatening phone messages for Kern, saying in one, “You better hide Shawna, I’m coming for you. I’m going to find you in Sun Valley or wherever the (expletive) you live and I’m going to kill you.”
In an uncharged incident, Robbins allegedly threatened to kill a police sergeant who arrested him on Jan. 13, McClutchey said.
Robbins was released on bond the next day and was given a Jan. 28 court date, which was pending when he was arrested Sunday at the border.
Kohnen argued last week that Robbins’ bail was excessive because his client had no criminal record and had never been in trouble with the law before.
“Mr. Robbins is an eccentric individual but he’s not a threat,” the defense attorney said.
Robbins was nine years old when he began doing the voice of Charlie Brown for such films and television specials as “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”
He is scheduled to be back in court Feb. 22 for a readiness conference and March 22 for a preliminary hearing.