Case Files: Roberta "Bobby Lynn" Daniel

Roberta "Bobby Lynn" Daniel, January 2, 1988 - Watonga, OK

That particular night had been brutally cold, the roads of the town ice and snow covered. The Daniels, transplants from the Woodward area and married Feb 8th, 1985, owned a jewelry store on Watonga's Main Street. Terry Daniel claims was working late in his Watonga jewelry store when a friend called to say his wife wasn't answering the phone. He rushed home around 11pm. "She was at the base of our stairs and had a fillet knife protruding from her stomach and just a massive pool of blood around her head," Daniel recalled, "I can't describe those feelings." Bobbie’s skull had been crushed, her throat slit, and a hunting knife plunged into her left side. The knife was later determined to belong to her husband. The window near the back door had been broken, and was the only sign of forced entry into the home. Some jewelry was stolen, but was apparently all belonging to the victim. R.A. McGlaughlin worked as a Blaine County sheriff's deputy. He was one of the first to arrive at the murder scene - a site one judge described as "clearly a set-up" robbery. The initial theory was that a robbery had occurred within the Daniel household, with the robber surprising Bobbie, and resulting in her death. However, the evidence for a robbery doesn’t quite hold water. Mel Hett, a criminalist for the OSBI, testified in 1994 that the front door lock could not be reached through the broken window. And there were no hairs, blood or fibers to suggest anyone entered through the window, the only point in the house where there was evidence of a forced entry, he said. "It's my opinion that no one has ever been through that window," Hett testified. Meaning, he thought the scene was staged to look like someone had broken the window and either entered there or reached through and unlocked the door, when in fact, he believed no one had done either, it was simply meant to look that way. Hett and State Medical Examiner Dr. Fred Jordan said they agree that hairs were found on the victim's hands. Jordan testified that he sent the OSBI eight hairs on her left hand. Hett said he only received three. Hett said the hairs he received belonged to the victim's daughter, Brooke Shephard, and animals, probably cats. There’s also the issue of the medical examiner’s findings. It appears that Bobbie had been laying on her side for 15-30 minutes before she was turned onto her back. The knife that was found in her side, was also determined to be plunged into her after she was already deceased. Terry Daniel's blood was never identified at the scene. There was testimony that with the severity of the victim's injuries, blood would have gotten on her killer. No bloody clothes thought to be the killer's ever were found. About a mile away, investigators recovered a knitting bag with jewelry taken from the home, including Roberta Daniel's wedding ring. Some of the items were still tagged from the jewelry store. The Blaine County Sheriff's office called in the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, or OSBI, to help investigate. Daniel says the OSBI agent focused on him as the suspect, to the detriment of other evidence. At the time of Bobbie’s death, there was a $500,000 life insurance policy that had been taken out on Bobbie only a few months earlier, which listed Terry as the first beneficiary. By the time he was able to collect on the insurance money in Dec of '88, with interest it had grown to about $1,000,000. The couple didn't have children together, but Terry Daniel has two from a previous marriage, and Roberta Daniel left behind a daughter. The three children are the secondary beneficiaries on the life insurance policy.

Claim filed Dec 1988: https://www.oscn.net/dockets/GetCaseInformation.aspx?db=blaine&number=C-1988-00302&cmid=981

This wasn't the first time Terry had taken out a life insurance policy on her though. In the summer before the victim's death, Daniel purchased $500,000 life insurance policies for himself and his wife. David Lee Orr, the LI agent said he sold Daniel a $100,000 life insurance policy in 1987. After about a year, Orr said the policy was dropped because the defendant failed to make monthly payments. Locals say the Daniels were dealing with a business in decline at the time of the murder. "The business had been going downhill by then," said Howard Hurst, who has owned an insurance company in downtown Watonga for 21 years. "The sad thing is nobody really had a chance to know her. She wasn't from around here." Daniel's financial problems apparently started with trouble in the family's jewelry [Northups] business in Woodward. The defendant expected to inherit the 100-year- old business where he worked alongside his parents for years. But things changed. John Floyd Daniel Jr., the defendant's father, testified about the turmoil in the business once the defendant's new wife, Roberta, who was known as Bobbie, started working in his Woodward store. Bobbie Daniel was fired because of a way she treated a customer in front of him and his wife, John Daniel said. After that, he said, he decided against giving Terry Daniel the business. In fact, Terry and Bobbie Daniel bought another jewelry store in Watonga and moved." There were around 22 other suspects in the case, all of which were cleared, except for Terry. One of the suspects, a friend of the Daniels, Donald Wayne Robinett, was even accused of having an affair with Bobbie. Terry still claims to this day that he is the real killer in the case. There was no evidence of said affair, and the family friend denied such a thing, and he was cleared of the murder as well. However, there was the issue of Bobbie apparently telling her close friend a couple weeks before her death that she was afraid for her life. She testified to this in court. Why she was afraid, she wouldn’t say, but Bobbie did state that she was happy with the state of her marriage. "Campbell testified that Daniel said she was scared for the first time in her life, but she would not say why. "She said 'I just can't talk to anyone. I can't even talk to my mother,'" Campbell testified. Campbell, a former Watonga restaurant owner, said she questioned the victim about her marriage. "She said she was happier than she ever been," she said." "Sharon Cunningham, the defendant's aunt, said the victim told her about the animals [children's pet rabbits killed just like the butchered animals in the 1987 movie, "Fatal Attraction"] and that she was concerned about living in the house the last part of 1987."


"Tatum [Daniel] Nitzel, the defendant's daughter from a previous marriage, testified that one night about two months before the slaying she and her stepmother were home alone when someone tried to get in the back door. "They were wiggling the door handle," Nitzel said. "She opened the door, and she slammed it on a hand. That is what I saw." Nitzel said she was told to call [Terry] Daniel, and he came home."

4/29/1994

Terry files for a marriage license with Deborah Lee Todd in OK county.

8/18/1994 Should be noted that the bank filed for foreclosure on the business. https://www.oscn.net/dockets/GetCaseInformation.aspx?db=blaine&number=CJ-1994-00119&cmid=5361 9/19/1995 Indictment filed: https://www.oscn.net/dockets/GetCaseInformation.aspx?db=oklahoma&number=CF-1995-6003&cmid=55758 A grand jury would eventually indict Daniel on a first-degree murder charge. Defense attorney Irven Box worked to show the jurors that officers botched the investigation. Irven Box, along with attorneys Stephen Box and Tara Little, say they discovered 78 areas where officers failed in their investigation. "Defense Attorney, Irven Box even points the finger at Donald Wayne Robinett, a friend of the Daniel, as the killer. Robinett was at the Daniels' home on the day of the slaying to retrieve videotapes. Box said Robinett went into the house and talked to the defendant, Terry, on the telephone. Robinett's fingerprints were found on the telephone in the kitchen. Robinett, now of Midland, Texas, denied that he and the victim were involved romantically. Box accused Robinett of changing his story and blamed investigators for not testing blood samples and investigating Robinett's muddy boot prints and pickup tracks. David Sauls, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation's case agent, said Robinett was eliminated partly as a suspect because Terry Daniel first said he saw his wife alive after Robinett's visit. 1995- The case is set to the side due to the OKC Bombing trial. 09-24-1996 MOMOTION OT DISMISS INDICTMENT DUE TO INSUFFICIENT EVID 09-18-2000 MODMMOTION TO DISMISS WITH PREJUDICE FOR LACK OF SPEEDY TRIAL 10-13-2000 MOMOTION TO DISMISS W.PREJUDICE FOR FAILURE TO COMPEL W/DISCOVERY AND BRIEF IN SUPPORT 10-25-2000 CTFREEJUDGE JACK R. PARR / DEFT FOUND NOT GUILTY, CASH BOND EXONERATED, RETURN TO PERSONS POSTING BOND On October 25th of 2000 a jury found Daniel 'Not Guilty' of the charge. But the case, the nightmare, was far from over. "It'll never be done," Daniel said, "The repercussions from it are still a daily thing."The case cost Daniel his jewelry business and his livelihood. It cost him friends. He moved from jewelry sales into manufacturing in order to make ends meet. He says people are still afraid to come into his shop because of the past. But beyond that, he says he's still being victimized by the state. You see, the evidence recovered from the crime disappeared. That bag of jewelry is missing. Today it would be worth $50,000 and after the trial Daniel wrote a letter to the OSBI in which he says he was told that the agency was holding the jewelry as part of an 'ongoing investigation' into him. Whether there was any 'ongoing investigation' or not is not known. The OSBI sent him a short letter saying they no longer had the jewelry because it had been sent to the Oklahoma County District Attorney's office. Fox 25 asked the same question of the OSBI. We asked to see the chain of custody forms, which are typical in law enforcement, to see who handled that expensive jewelry. The agency denied our request saying state law does not require the OSBI to make such records public. The Daniel case was complicated because it went through several prosecutors. Daniel said some refused the case because of lack of evidence, eventually it did land in Oklahoma County, but Oklahoma County was unable to handle the case due to the Oklahoma City Bombing and resulting trials. Ultimately a Grady County prosecutor tried and lost the case. The Oklahoma County district attorney's office did check it's archives at Fox 25's request. The office said the evidence from the Daniel case was ordered turned over to the Grady County DA's office. The prosecutor who handled the case has since passed away and Grady County cannot find the evidence. However, because we can't see the chain of custody forms, it's not possible to know what happened to the jewelry. Daniel said it was never brought up at his trial and he hasn't seen it since the night the OSBI took it. The OSBI says its case is closed, even though there has never been a conviction for the murder it was asked to investigate. The agency says it investigated every lead in the case, but considering that in 1988 DNA testing was in its infancy it's possible if the evidence from the crime was somewhere accessible it could hold clues as to who Daniel says is the real murderer. The OSBI turned down Fox 25's requests for interviews about this case. If you have any information pertaining to the murder of Roberta “Bobbie” Lynn Daniel, please contact the Blaine County Sheriff’s department at (580) 623-5111.Comments from Family and Friends:

  • Belinda H. - This still breaks my heart!! I was very good friends with her, we stayed together, worked at Dons , and ran together!! The fun and memories will never be forgotten!! Then she meets Terry!!! Everything changed!!! I talked to Janice alot after the murder!! I hope and pray that the guilty person is put away!!! She was beautiful, caring and so thoughtful.. I dont understand WHY and WHY was so much covered up!!

  • Patti P. - I went to church with Terry and to High School with Bobbie...Terry was a couple years older than me and Bobbie and I graduated together. Terry was a pretty good guy back then and Bobbie was absolutely precious and she was absolutely beautiful! I remember that I always admired her for her love of rodeo! We also sat together in several classes. This is such a terrible situation...Bobbie did not deserve this kind of death! I have heard some very bad things about Terry since our days growing up in Woodward...drugs and other things! I just cannot wrap my head around all of this! It just makes my heart break!

  • Sabra W. - Bobbi and my mom, CLYDENE, were very close friends and neighbors while living in Woodward. Bobbi and Brooke were just like family to us because my mom was single raising girls too, plus we all did dance together. I am a couple years older than Brooke. We have stayed in contact with Brooke through all of this. She has had one hell of a life... Her faith remains strong, but I would love for her to have closure... Science has made so many advancements since the time of her death and even with all the crappy police work there is something that is being overlooked. I was 11 at the time of her death and she was like a 2nd mom to us. I have never experienced something such as this before... I hope Brooke gets the closure she needs, so she can heal and remain strong in her faith.

SOURCES:

  • https://oklahoman.com/article/2715730/residents-havent-forgotten-murder

  • Oklahoma Cold Cases - Facebook and website

  • https://okcfox.com/archive/oklahoma-jeweler-says-he-is-victim-of-the-state

  • http://www.acandyrose.com/roberta_daniel_timeline_names.htm

  • OSCN.NET


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