Trial begins for man accused of killing father in front of 3 sons in Riverside

RIVERSIDE — The trial for a man accused of killing a father in front of his three sons in a high profile local case began Tuesday.

Police and prosecutors claim that Sterling Roberts opened fire and killed Robert “Bobby” Caldwell back in 2017 as Caldwell was walking out of a family counseling session.

Roberts was later arrested in South Carolina after being involved in a shootout with deputies there.

The police investigation quickly determined that Roberts was the boyfriend of Tawney Caldwell, Robert Caldwell’s ex-wife.

Police said they uncovered evidence he’d tried to kill Caldwell days earlier in Greene County.

Investigators determined that some events happened across state lines, including Tawney Caldwell buying a gun in Tennessee for Roberts to potentially use in committing the crime.

They also discovered other family members may have played lesser roles in planning or covering up the crime.

The case was moved to federal court and six people in all faced charges, including Tawney Caldwell’s mother, father and Roberts’ two brothers.

>> RELATED: Ex-wife, 5 others indicted in 2017 killing of Riverside man

Wrapping up their cases slowed things down.

The case also took another detour when one of Caldwell’s sons, Jacob, disappeared after his father’s death.

He would not re-surface for almost a full year, eventually turning up in a home in Miami Township. He was returned to rejoin his brothers.

>> RELATED: Police: Jacob Caldwell, teen missing since father’s 2017 murder, found safe

Tawney Caldwell eventually pleaded guilty to interstate stalking in 2020. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison in July of last year.

>> RELATED: Ex-wife pleads guilty for role in Robert Caldwell’s 2017 killing in Riverside

Now Roberts will face a federal murder charge where jurors are expected to begin listening to opening statements and witness testimony on Wednesday, March 9.

Federal prosecutors have already announced that they are not seeking the death penalty in this case.

News Center 7 will continue to follow the case and continue to provide updates in developments as the trial moves forward.

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