When Homeschoolers Turn Violent: Robert Holguin and Accomplice

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 5.36.11 PM

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.

*****

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.