Karyn Sinunu, Chief Assistant District Attorney
Richard Titus, Deputy District Attorney
Major Case Unit
For release on December 1, 2005
ROBERT MAYS PLEADED GUILTY
An extremely unusual homicide case came to partial closure today, when, in the midst of trial, Robert Mays pleaded guilty to conspiracy and first-degree murder charges in the 2004 death of San Jose resident Peter Bianco.
In a convoluted case resembling the plot of a television movie, Mays had previously "framed" his friend, Rick Reinhardt, after Mays had shot Bianco to death on February 22, 2004, during a bungled burglary attempt. Only after months of an intensive and complex investigation by San Jose Police Detectives was the truth of this bizarre plot revealed.
Peter Bianco was found shot to death in his west San Jose home on February 26, 2004. Two days after the body was discovered, Mays, a friend of both Reinhardt and Bianco, contacted police, claiming that Reinhardt had previously made threats against the victim over a love triangle, and that Mays had seen a small caliber weapon in a room that Reinhardt rented in Redwood City. Knowing that Bianco was shot with a .22 caliber weapon, police obtained a search warrant for Reinhardt’s room, and located a small handgun, believed to be the murder weapon, along with keys to Bianco’s home and cars. Reinhardt was then arrested and charged with the murder of Bianco. During a police interview, Reinhardt claimed that he knew nothing of the gun and keys, and that they had been "planted" in his room by someone else, possibly Mays.
Unsatisfied that they knew the whole story, San Jose Police detectives Will Manion and Enrique Garcia (and later Tom Morales) continued to investigate the case aggressively, assisted by information provided by Reinhardt’s attorney, Public Defender Melinda Hall, who strongly insisted on her client’s innocence.
The case against Reinhardt was dismissed in December 2004, and murder charges were filed against Robert Mays, and Dorothy Motschenbacher, whom police believe to be a co-conspirator in the planning of the burglary of Bianco’s residence. Mays will be sentenced on January 23, 2006, at which time he faces a sentence of 50 years to life. Motschenbacher now faces a separate trial on the same charges.