Joe Roberts, from January 18, 1951, telling the accused Meta Bauer White what he believes is true:
"You're not guilty!"
Joe Roberts was a hard-nosed reporter from the City Times who had seen it all and done it all during his years as a war correspondent. In 1950, Joe heard about the case of the beautiful murderess, Meta Bauer White, who had shot and killed her ex-husband after the horrible death of their son. Joe was quickly able to get an interview with Meta while she was in prison, awaiting her trial and found himself sympathetic. A widower, Joe was a dedicated father to his two teenage children, Kathy and Joey. It didn’t take long for Joe to become convinced of Meta’s innocence. However, District Attorney Richard Hanley was convinced that Meta was covering up for her guilt by falsely claiming she couldn't remember the four hours just after she shot and killed Ted. While Joe's editor at The City Times was pressing him to get an juicy exclusive about Meta, Joe found himself falling in love with her, despite his editor's disapproval. Weeks later, Joe arrived home and was surprised to find that his two teenage children were arguing about some letter. When Joe confronted them, Joey showed Joe a letter that Kathy had hidden in her bedroom. It was a letter from Meta. Joey had no problem with Joe pursuing Meta, but Kathy did. Kathy saw Meta as nothing but a murderess who was trying to take her mother's place in Joe's heart. When Joe tried to reason with Kathy that Meta wasn't as bad as Kathy made her out to be, Kathy refused to listen and yelled at her father that she wasn't about to see her father get hurt! Joe then called Rev. Keeler to help calm Kathy's fears about Meta and Joe. After Rev. Keeler spoke with Kathy, Kathy seemed to accept the relationship. In reality though, Kathy was still secretly opposed to Joe and Meta.As the trial of the state of California vs. Meta Bauer White for the murder of Ted White began, on January 9, 1951, it became apparent to Ray and Joe that Hanley was going to seek the death penalty against Meta. Hanley’s badgering tactics throughout the trail finally led to the judge declaring a mistrial. Meta was therefore acquitted and on March 15, 1951 was a free woman!
The trial over, Joe and Meta decided to marry. However, the very next day, Joe got a shock when he learned that Kathy had run off and married Bob Lang. Upset that his underage daughter had eloped, Joe forced an annulment. Meanwhile, Joe and Meta eloped to Malibu but kept the marriage a secret in hopes that Kathy would eventually accept Meta. The couple split their time between Los Angeles and a rented Malibu beach cottage, using the cover story that Joe was frequently "on assignment." However, when Joey came down with rheumatic fever, Joe rushed to the bedside of his son. To care for Joey during his convalescence, Joe hired a friendly and dedicated young nurse from Cedars Hospital named Peggy Regan. Peggy was an immediate hit with the Roberts children, who hoped that Joe would marry Peggy instead of Meta, Peggy was, indeed, developing a crush on Joe, but she knew she had no future with the older reporter and, for a time, left Cedars.
In 1952, Meta and Joe finally revealed that they were married. It had been Kathy and Joey's wish for Joe to marry Peggy, and now their hopes were dashed forever. Joey was at least civil to Meta, but Kathy was nasty, belligerent and rebellious toward her father and stepmother. Kathy feared that if Meta killed once, she could kill again. Joe sternly warned Kathy to shape up. Meta however, feared she would never fit into Joe's family, and they eventually separated. Meta again went to New York to visit her sister and began seeing Bruce Banning. When Bruce proposed, Meta (at Trudy's urging) realized she belonged to Joe and returned home. To Joe's delight, Joey embraced Meta wholeheartedly as his new mother, but Kathy refused to budge.
Trying to escape her troublesome family situation, Kathy kept writing to Dick Grant, pleading with him to get married. Dick was about to start his medical internship and had no plans for marriage. When one of Kathy's letters to Dick went unanswered, she decided to forget about him and move on with her life. Kathy graduated from high school, and much to her father's dismay, instead of going to Stanford as planned, she took a job in a store and began sharing an apartment with a golddigging, would-be starlet named Alice Graham. Another of Kathy's new friends was Bob Lang, a sensitive young man who had been orphaned as a child. Bob was so desperate for a stable home life that he began pressuring Kathy to marry him. Alone and confused, Kathy finally said yes, and they were married by a justice of the peace. The newlyweds told no one of their union, partly because Kathy soon realized she had made a mistake. Within days of the ceremony, Kathy and Bob were talking in the car when Kathy admitted to Bob that she didn't want to stay married to him. Bob became angry and began driving wildly. The car crashed, Bob was killed instantly and a bewildered Kathy fled the scene. Afterward, she unwisely confided everything about the tragedy to Alice and swore her roommate to secrecy. As Kathy's luck would have it, the events she had set into motion began to close in on her. Don Crane, Joe's muckracking colleague at the City Times found a woman's cigarette lighter in Bob's car and suspected he wasn't alone in his fatal accident. Crane traced the lighter to Sid, who had given it to Alice, who in turn had loaned it to Kathy. Investigating the matter further, Crane discovered that Kathy and Bob had secretly >married! Crane related this to his and Joe's boss, John (Mac) McIntyre but when Mac refused to run the story out of loyalty to Joe, Crane angrily defected to a rival tabloid. Mac told Joe, and Joe heard the remainder of the story from Meta. To further complicate matters, Kathy found herself pregnant with Bob's child and led everyone to believe it was Dick's.
In the midst of this tragedy, Joe was happy to see Joey marry his longtime girlfriend, Lois, and enlist in Air Corps. Meanwhile, Kathy was arraigned and the police began hammering her with questions about the crash that killed Bob Lang. Meta knew her family could no longer live in denial and she finally convinced Kathy to tell Dick the truth about Bob. Kathy left the door open for Dick to divorce her, but Dick loved her enough to stand by her. When Kathy's bail was set at $25,000, Laura Grant adamantly refused Dick's plea to put up the money. It was Meta who paid the bail, using money she had received after Ted White's death. Kathy's chances for acquittal looked dim at first, as District Attorney Richard Hanley hinged his case on the possibility that she had tampered with Bob's car. However, Joe located a mechanic who admitted that he might have left a nut loose when he worked on Bob's brakes earlier. Kathy was cleared of the charges and gave birth to a girl, whom she named Robin.
At this time, Joe and District Attorney Richard Hanley were immersed in the case of Judith Weber, a "lonely spinster" who was found shot to death in a cabin. Joe's newspaper stories of the "Cabin Murder" had the people of Los Angeles both fascinated and baffled, because the murder victim had no known enemies. Upon further investigation, Joe discovered that on the day of her murder, Judith had withdrawn her life savings. As Joe and the police went through Judith's effects, they found a jar of Coverall, a heavy cream for concealing birthmarks and scars. One day in a routine conversation, Joe filled Peggy in on this all-consuming case. Peggy gasped to herself -- she had seen a container of Coverall in Dan Peter's room! Telling no one, Peggy took the Coverall and agonized over it for >weeks. Meanwhile, Jim couldn't help noticing that Dan was obsessed with the Cabin Murder, clipping articles and listening to all the new reports about the case. Privately Dan was racking his brain, trying to remember whether or not he had killed Judith Weber! In the end, it was discovered that the tragic, Dan Peters had killed Judith when she refused to pay for his much needed plastic surgery.
As the case of Judith Weber's murder and the mysterious Dan Peters, was coming to an apex, Joe learned he had cancer and, on Christmas Eve, 1955, he died.