While prosecutors have referred to the Urbana man accused of killing his mother as ‘volatile, dangerous and a risk to public safety,’ the community is remembering his mother as a dear friend and devoted employee.
Champaign County Common Pleas Court Magistrate Scott Schockling set Robert James Stevenson’s bond at $1 million during the man’s arraignment on Tuesday morning.
Stevenson, 29, is accused of killing his mother, Pamela Combs, 66, in the home that the two shared on Lionel Drive.
He was indicted on six counts earlier this week — including aggravated murder.
Stevenson also faces an aggravated menacing charge because prosecutors say he threatened to kill another family member who was a witness.
The Walmart on U.S. 36 in Urbana has set up a display by the front entrance in Combs’ memory. According to a note on the display, she had worked at the store for almost three years.
“It is with our deepest shock and sorrow that we mourn the sudden and tragic passing of one of our most dedicated associates,” it says.
The note says that Combs loved to sing, dance, laugh and be around her work family and customers.
“As many of our associates are struggling to cope with the loss of a dear friend and out of respect for those associates and Pam’s family, we ask for sensitivity and consideration during this extremely difficult time.”
Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell said the city rarely sees this type of violence — citing only one homicide or fewer per year in Urbana from 2011 to 2020.
“We grieve for Mrs. Combs. We stand ready to represent her as we proceed through the court for her homicide,” he added. “She’s a well-liked community member who had many family and friends who are upset over this — as they should be. And I think she was just a mother trying to make a way for her son who may have had some issues.”
He said since Stevenson had been living at the Urbana address, there had been two run-ins with his department.
Lingrell cited an incident in 2017, where officers were contacted by an aid agency because Stevenson had missed a doctor’s appointment and the agency was concerned that he wasn’t taking medication he should have been.
Lingrell said they were able to get Stevenson to the hospital.
The only other incident was in late summer 2019, Lingrell said, when officers were in the neighborhood looking for a suspicious person who was walking around residents’ houses and reportedly looking in windows.
Police later determined the man to be Stevenson, although he denied looking in the windows.
Lingrell said Stevenson had no other incidents locally until Jan. 3. — the day his mother was killed.
The Champaign County Coroner previously told the News-Sun that Combs’ preliminary autopsy showed both blunt and sharp force trauma, but exactly how she was died has not been released.
Stevenson was listed in custody at the Tri-County Jail on Tuesday evening.
Funeral services for Combs are pending at Vernon Funeral Home, according to her obituary.
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