Osceola County

Father of man accused of killing Celebration family tried to have wife killed in 1980s, records show

The father of the Celebration man accused of killing his wife, three children and family dog, also had a history of violence, according to court records dating back 40 years.

Robert Todt was convicted by a jury in 1980 for a murder-to-hire plot.

It bears an eerie parallel to this week, when his son Anthony Todt told Osceola County detectives that he killed his wife, three children and family dog.

Alan Rubenstein is now a judge in the same Pennsylvania community where he was an assistant district attorney in 1980, and prosecuted Robert Todt’s case.

He said the Todts appeared to have a picturesque life. Neighbors had great things to say about Robert Todt, who was a special-education teacher and wrestling coach at a Pennsylvania high school.

Read: Man accused of killing wife, 3 kids and dog at Celebration home jailed without bail

Then, he was arrested for hiring one of his students to kill his wife.

“A shot was fired right into her skull,” Rubenstein told Channel 9. “It landed through her left eye and blinded her. She should’ve died but, amazingly, she survived.”

What originally seemed like a home invasion didn’t add up, Rubenstein said.

“Then we did some background checking on (Robert) Todt,” he said. “We found out about his being engaged to this woman while he was married, about his various girlfriends, the fact that he was having a relationship with one of his students.”

When Robert Todt was convicted, “everybody was wailing, especially his family members and Loretta,” Rubenstein recalled. “The calmest person in the courtroom was Robert Todt.”

Read: Man who confessed to killing family at Celebration home on investigators’ radar for months, records show

Robert Todt served about 10 years in prison. Investigators said Anthony Todt was in the home when his mother was shot. A local newspaper reported he woke up to his mother’s screams.

Many have described Anthony Todt as a loving father and husband, devoted physical therapist and soccer coach to neighborhood kids.

Investigators said they found Anthony Todt’s family’s bodies Monday, but believe Todt killed them weeks earlier. The FBI is also investigating Todt for Medicaid fraud, and records show he was being evicted from their Celebration home.