Jeremy and Robin Spielbauer met one night in 2003 during a night of drinks and dancing in Amarillo, Texas. The pair became inseparable, married in 2005 and had two daughters. Jeremy was a former marine and Robin worked as a waitress at Youngblood’s Stockyard Café.
In 2012, the Spielbauers' befriended a woman from church named Katie Phipps, a criminal justice student. A few months later, Robin caught the two having an affair and filed for divorce. Once the divorce was final in 2013, Jeremy married Katie.
Robin took their two young children and moved into her parent's home. Without Jeremy's income, she was forced to take on a second job and struggled to make ends meet. Jeremy and Robin fought incessantly over visitation rights and child support.
During Thanksgiving 2013 after less than a year of marriage, Katie found flirty messages between her husband and his ex-wife on Facebook. She confronted Robin and the two engaged in a physical altercation where police had to be called and Katie filed for divorce.
On April 7, 2014, 32-year-old Robin Spielbauer tucked her girls into bed and kissed them goodnight. She told her parents she was going out and would return home shortly, but didn't say where she was headed. Robin never came home and her parents reported her missing the next morning.
During the early morning hours of April 8, 2014, a passerby stumbled upon Robin's body on a field near Helium Road next to her Tahoe. An autopsy showed she had died as a result of blunt force trauma and a gunshot wound to the head. Robin's phone and wallet had also been stolen.
Investigators found pink plastic chips and a .22 caliber shell casing at the crime scene. They went directly to the most obvious suspects: Jeremy and Katie Spielbauer.
Inside the couple's home, investigators found a pink 22. caliber gun. The handle was chipped and the gun was registered to Katie, who they believed had the perfect motive: jealousy and rage over her husband's affair with his ex-wife. Katie was arrested and charged with murder.
Katie maintained her innocence from day one. She insisted that on the night of the murder she and her son had gone to visit a friend at her home. Katie's son and her friend corroborated her alibi, but it would take 466 days in jail before she would be cleared of all charges. Newly received cellphone data proved Katie was not in the area of the crime scene during the time of the murder. She was released from jail right before the murder trial was scheduled to begin.
Investigators then zeroed in on the only other person who had access to Katie's pink gun: Jeremy Spielbauer.
Jeremy originally told investigators he hadn't left his house at all on the night of the murder, but when confronted with cellphone data placing him at the scene of the crime, he changed his story. He admitted meeting with Robin on the evening of April 7 in the location where her body was later discovered but claimed they were caught by Katie who had been following him. Jeremy insisted he left the two women together and drove home.
On April 16, 2016, Jeremy was arrested and charged with murder. The prosecution argued that not only did he kill his former wife, but he had also tried to frame his new one.
Katie testified against her then-husband at the trial, telling the jury he told her he had, "handled the [expletive] problem" two days after Robin's body was found.
Apparently, both Robin and Katie weren't enough for Jeremy. During the trial, it was revealed that he also had a girlfriend named Jessica Huffman. Jessica testified that Jeremy often vented to her about having to pay child support and one occasion stated that things would be, “better if Robin had a bullet in her head.” Jessica claimed he later threatened to do the same to her if she ever uttered a word to anyone about their conversation.
Jeremy Spielbauer was ultimately sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility in 2046, but in May of 2021 he filed an appeal and his conviction was overturned.
The appeal questioned the objectivity of two specific jurors and argued that Jeremy lacked effective counsel. He will remain in prison until the re-trial which has yet to be scheduled.
Katie Phipps now works as the Director of Strategy at Ignite U1, a movement with the aim to break cycles of trauma and ignite generational cycles of hope through coaching, mentorship and athletics.
Sources: Heavy, ABC News, Dateline, Spielbauer v. the State of Texas, Rector Obituary, Amarillo