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Daycare shooter gets two life sentences

By Staff | Jan 30, 2013

A Cape Coral man convicted last year of murdering his estranged wife at a child care facility in 2008 was sentenced to two life sentences Monday.

Robert Harold Dunn, 49, of 626 S.E. 10th Ave., was found guilty on Nov. 27 of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Christine Dunn. The jury also convicted Dunn of child abuse and first-degree burglary armed with firearm.

The jury later recommended a life sentence over the death penalty.

“The judge followed the jury’s recommendation and imposed a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole,” attorney David Brener said of Monday’s sentencing.

Brener represented Dunn, as did attorney Tracey Redd.

“I was very pleased with both the jury’s recommendation and with the sentence actually imposed by the court,” he said.

Dunn received life for the first-degree murder conviction and the first-degree burglary conviction both. He was additionally sentenced to five years for the child abuse conviction to run concurrent with the life sentences.

The armed burglary and child abuse sentences are the maximums.

“Both Mr. Dunn and his family are very pleased that he is not going to the hearing on death row and, ultimately, executed for his actions on that fateful day,” Brener said.

Assistant state attorneys Marie Scalise and Bob Lee prosecuted the case.

“We are happy that Dunn will never again be a free man. This is one of the most heinous cases I have handled due to the mother being murdered in front of her young daughter,” Scalise said. “We have put a tremendous amount of effort into this case, and I am glad the family now has resolution.”

While a tragic case, Brener said it was not a “true death penalty case.”

While presenting their case during the sentencing phase, the defense provided the jury with incidents of Baker Acts, involuntary depression and manic behavior involving Dunn. Three experts testified to his disorder.

“Mr. Dunn suffered from severe untreated mental illness for over 20 years,” he said.

Brener explained that prior to the homicide, Dunn lost his job, was going through a divorce and had been informed that his child would be taken from him. Dunn attempted to seek professional help, but he was turned away.

“We found out (during the trial) that he had been requesting crisis intervention and a change of his medication and was denied,” he said.

On Jan. 25, Dunn broke into the locked back entrance to Bobbie Noonan’s Child Care Facility, at 1217 Cape Coral Parkway W., and shot his estranged wife twice – once in the side of the neck and a second time in the chest.

Christine Dunn was a teacher at the facility. She and other teachers hid inside bathrooms with the children as Dunn broke into the center with a gun in hand. He shot his wife in one of the bathrooms in front of a small group of pre-schoolers.

None of the children or other adults were injured in the incident.

A parent at the facility eventually wrestled the gun away from Dunn.