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Trial for accused killer of Robin Brooks in 1980 underway in Sacramento County courtroom

The man accused of raping and killing Robin Brooks in 1980 faces a jury for the first time, more than 40 years after the crime took place.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — 42 years after the brutal rape and killing of Robin Brooks in Sacramento County, the man accused of killing her, Phillip Lee Wilson, faces a jury for the first time.

Wilson was arrested in 2020 after detectives used genetic genealogy testing to match DNA from the crime scene to DNA belonging to Wilson. 

The announcement of his arrest took place exactly 40 years to the day Brooks was found dead inside her apartment in the Rosemont neighborhood of Sacramento County. 

Timothy Carr, the prosecutor with Sacramento County District Attorney's office, laid out a timeline of events and evidence they say will prove Wilson, the defendant, killed Robin Brooks. 

Carr described the killing of Brooks as a crime of opportunity, which he says Wilson committed after becoming obsessed with her. 

He said Wilson knew Brooks because he frequented Donut Time, where Brooks worked. 

A crime scene photo of Brooks' body found inside her apartment was presented by the prosecution to the jury. 

The prosecution told the jury they preserved DNA evidence from the crime scene in the form of semen, blood and fingerprints. All of which, they pointed out, have been connected to Wilson. 

The defense, Public Defender Thomas Clinkenbeard, is not denying Wilson's DNA was found at Brooks' apartment. 

Clinkenbeard told the jury Wilson and Brooks were in a consensual sexual relationship and someone else then killed her. He also argued the blood found inside Brooks' apartment belonging to Wilson came from a work-related injury. 

Defense said Wilson was "outgoing," "fun loving," saying he had lots of friends and had no reason to kill Robin Brooks.

The defense is actually pointing to another man who was connected to this case but has since passed away as someone who they say could have had access to Brooks' apartment and was described as a "volatile" man. 

Several key witnesses were brought forward including Maria Arrick, Robin Brooks' sister. 

In cross-examination, Arrick talked about a conversation she had with Brooks' before she died. 

"This haunts me my whole life," Arrick said. Brooks asked her to move to "the other side of Sacramento." Maria Arrick said "I never asked her why."

The trial resumes Thursday morning. 


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