When Homeschoolers Turn Violent: Robert Holguin and Accomplice

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Series note: “When Homeschoolers Turn Violent” is a joint research project by Homeschoolers Anonymous and Homeschooling’s Invisible Children. Please see the Introduction for detailed information about the purpose and scope of the project.

Trigger warning: If you experience triggers from descriptions of physical and sexual violence, please know that the details in many of the cases are disturbing and graphic.

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Robert Holguin and Accomplice

On February 26, 2005, 13-year-old Robert Holguin and a 12-year-old accomplice (whose name was never publicized) used a skateboard to murder 87-year-old Gerald O’Malley.

On February 26, 2005, 13-year-old Robert Holguin and a 12-year-old accomplice used a skateboard to murder 87-year-old Gerald O'Malley.

On February 26, 2005, 13-year-old Robert Holguin and a 12-year-old accomplice used a skateboard to murder 87-year-old Gerald O’Malley.

The event, dubbed the “Skateboard Murder,” stunned the town of San Luis Obispo, California. Gerald was described as “a slight and hobbled man who used a walker on bad days and a cane on good ones.” Robert and his accomplice attacked the elderly man in his trailer after taunting him about stealing his car. Robert hit Gerald twice in the back of the head with a skateboard; when that failed to kill, he struck him three more times. The two kids drove off with Gerald’s 1995 Ford Explorer, later abandoning it.

Both kids came from troubled families. Their fathers were convicted felons. Their mothers were divorced and struggled financially due to the fathers’ failure to pay child support. Robert — who has 6 siblings — was enrolled in public school a year prior to the attack. He had never been in trouble with the law before. Robert’s mother said, however, he had recently made “new friends” and was experiencing “mood swings.” She shared those concerns with his schools’ administration and, at some point after that, withdrew Robert from public school. At the time of the murder, both Robert and his accomplice were homeschooled in one form or another. News reports said they were “home-schooled or enrolled in a continuation program” as well as  “associated with the Templeton Unified School District home-school program.”

Robert was charged with murder, elder abuse, burglary, and car theft. He was sentenced to a minimum of 7 years in a state detention facility. His accomplice was only charged with burglary.

View the case index here.

4 comments

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I don’t think homeschooling was much of a factor in this one; it appears the homeschooling (which was being done under the auspices of the SLO school district) was a desperation move to salvage a kid who was in a death spiral.

  • So, the ten year old boy who killed his Nazi father got 10 years, and this one only got 7. What’s up with that?

  • I agree with Headless Unicorn Guy. This one seems completely unrelated to homeschooling, because it appears that they were homeschooled only because they were already extremely troubled in the first place. My dad was “homeschooled” for awhile as a teen because he was suspended so many times they made him stay home and just come in to see a teacher every week. LOL

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Yeah, this was more of “another fell through the cracks” than anything else.

      Though I would like to know if this level of violence is more common with a homeschooling background (broken down further by the Extreme Homeschooling watchdogged on this and other blogs) than in the general population. (Though given the piss-poor quality of some public schools and the really bad areas they cover, I’m not sure how you could isolate the homeschool/public school factor from all the others in play.)

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