Morbid podcast

Episode 552: Marie Robards

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When thirty-eight-year-old Steven Robards died unexpectedly in the winter of 1993, everyone including the coroner believed his death to have been the result of a heart attack—unusual for someone so young, but certainly not unheard of. It wasn’t until the following year, when Steven’s teenage daughter, Marie, was practicing for the school play, that the girl confessed the truth to her friend: Steven Robards didn’t die from a heart attack, he was murdered by his daughter with chemicals she’d stolen from the high school chemistry lab.

In the United States, it’s exceedingly rare for a child to kill a parent, and rarer still for that child to be female. The truth about Steven Robards murder shocked the residents of the Fort Worth area and divided the community between those who were sympathetic to her claims of desperation and those who saw her as nothing more than a craven predator who’d do anything to get what she wanted. Indeed, Marie claimed she had only wanted to make her father sick so she could return to living with her mother, from whom she’d been separated since her parents’ divorce, and she had never wanted to kill him.

Ultimately a jury didn’t buy Marie’s story and sentenced her to twenty-seven years in prison, of which she served only seven years before being paroled. Was Marie Robards really just a confused teenager who acted impulsive without regard for the consequences of her actions? Or was she really the calculating self-serving killer some believed her to be?

Thank you to David White, of the Bring Me the Axe podcast, for research assistance!


Blaney, Betsy. 1997. "Trial near for NRH teen accused of killing father." Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 17: 1.

Cochran, Mike. 1996. "Ex-UT student headed for patricide trial." Austin American-Statesman, May 6: 11.

—. 1996. "Teen says she didn't mean to kill dad." Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 6: 1.

Hanna, Bill, and Kathy Sanders. 1994. "Daughter appears in court." Fort Worth Star-Telegram, October 20: 21.

Hollandsworth, Skip. 1996. "Poisoning Daddy." Texas Monthly, July 01.

Hood County News. 1994. "City staff's reactions mixed on poison suspect's presence." Hood County News, November 2: 1.

Vozzella, Laura. 1996. "Accused dreamed of being coroner, prosecutor says." Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 8: 50.

—. 1996. "Chemistry student gets 28-year term in father's death." Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 11: 1.

—. 1996. "Teen is found guilty of poisoning her father." Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 10: 15.

—. 1996. "Teacher says chemical hidden from police." Fort Worth Star-Telegraph, May 9: 21.

2001. Forensic Files. Directed by David Wasser. Performed by David Wasser.

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