A professor at the University of Pennsylvania was charged today with beating his wife to death in the kitchen of their home in Wayne Penn., three days after Christmas.

In a search warrant affadavit, police said Rafael Robb killed his 49-year-old wife, Ellen, and then made it look like a burglary.

Robb is charged with first and third degree murder, possession of an instrument of crime, tampering with evidence and lying to authorities.

“Dr. Robb lied to the police about an obvious motive for this murder, his knowledge of his wife’s recent plans to divorce him and obtain a significant portion of his wealth,” Upper Merion Police Detective David Gershanick said in an affadavit.

Robb told authorities that he found his wife dead when he returned home from work. He said he last saw her alive when he left to take their 12-year-old daughter to school.

Ellen Robb allegedly had told friends that she was planning on divorcing her husband. Court papers state she had hired an attorney and was expected $4,000 a month in spousal support.

Rafael Robb’s attorney, Frank Genovese, says prosecutors have only circumstantial evidence at this point.

“Perhaps the district attorney has some evidence that he believes points to Dr. Robb’s guilt above and beyond what he’s released so far, but Dr. Robb has expected this, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to us,” Genovese said.

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