Louisiana man accused of beating his parents to death fatally stabs himself in eye with ink pen in jail cell

Published 6:16 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

A Vernon Parish man charged in the beating death of his parents earlier this week has died while in custody, according to authorities.

Robert Matthew Lombardo, 46, of Leesville was pronounced dead at the Vernon Parish Jail Friday afternoon, suffering from what authorities say was a self-inflicted fatal eye injury.

According to Sheriff Sam Craft, Lombardo was alone in his cell when, at about 12:48 p.m., jail personnel monitoring surveillance cameras witnessed him fall to the floor.

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Craft said jail personnel responded to the cell immediately and began performing CPR. At that time, Craft said, they noticed an injury to Lombardo’s left eye.

EMTs then arrived on the scene and assisted with performing CPR and other life-saving measures, but Craft said Lombardo was never revived.

When detectives arrived and began processing the scene, Craft said they began replaying the surveillance footage of Lombardo’s cell. Craft said that detectives observed in the footage Lombardo sitting at the edge of his bed and taking an ink pen and then “forcefully shove his face area down onto the end of the pen twice before falling to the floor”.

A cursory examination conducted by the local coroner’s office at the scene revealed that a “significant length” of the ink pen penetrated Lombardo’s eye and punctured his orbital socket, resulting in a fatal brain injury.

Craft said the only items in Lombardo’s cell at the time of his death was personal hygiene items, writing paper, one ink pen, one western novel and a Bible.

Detectives told the American Press that Lombardo had given no indications that day he had intentions of harming himself.

Lombardo had been arrested Feb. 16 and charged with the fatal beating death of his parents, 83-year-old Joseph Lombardo and 60-year-old Rita Lombardo.

Authorities located the two victims in their residence in the Jeane Chapel Trailer Park in Leesville after receiving a request from a family member to perform a welfare check on the couple. Craft said the family member told detectives that Robert Lombardo had called them and told them he had beaten his parents to death.

Lombardo was located hours later in a camper trailer in the Evans community, and was taken into custody without incident.

Craft said Lombardo told detectives during questioning that he and his parents had been involved in a domestic disturbance prior to him committing the murders, and that the murders had taken place two to three days before his arrest.

Republished with permission of The (Lake Charles, Louisiana) American Press.