Mental competency hearing ordered for Charlie Brown actor

Fri Jun 5, 2015 3:42pm EDT
 
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By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A San Diego judge ordered a mental competency hearing for Peter Robbins, who as a child played the voice of cartoon character Charlie Brown, after a series of strange and obscene outbursts during a hearing on Friday.

Robbins, 58, was taken into custody for probation violations in February after police were called repeatedly to the mobile home park where he has been living, and found he had cut off his electronic monitor and was using drugs and alcohol, authorities said.

On Friday, at a hearing to determine whether he would go back to jail for probation violations, Robbins shouted at Judge Robert O'Neill and repeatedly swore at the judge, Deputy District Attorney Brenda Daly and his own attorney.

"He acted out," Daly said. "He insulted everyone he could possibly insult in the courtroom. It raised doubts about his competency."

Robbins pleaded guilty to charges of stalking and making threats in May 2013, after harassing and threatening an ex-girlfriend and the plastic surgeon who enhanced her breasts.

He was sentenced to a year in jail, but as part of a plea deal was instead allowed to serve eight months in a residential drug treatment facility. Upon his release, he was ordered to maintain his sobriety and wear an electronic monitor.

Robbins was 9 years old in 1965 when he became the voice of the world-weary yet optimistic title character of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," a holiday classic and the first of many animated TV specials based on the popular "Peanuts" comic strip by Charles Schulz.

The actor went on to voice Charlie Brown in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," "You're In Love, Charlie Brown" and "A Boy Named Charlie Brown," which aired in the 1960s. He was replaced in later versions of the animated specials.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

 
Peter Robbins looks towards the judge during his arraignment at the San Diego County Superior Court of Califorrnia January 23, 2013.  REUTERS/John Gibbins/Pool