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Burrows v. State

Arizona Supreme Court
297 P. 1029 (1931)


When he was 18 years-old, Richard N. Burrows (defendant) and a friend, Milton Drucker, left their military school in Wisconsin to travel across the country. With $55 in cash, the boys left in a car belonging to Drucker’s parents and headed west. When they had reached Phoenix, Arizona, they were stopped by the police at the request of Drucker’s parents. Drucker’s mother claimed Milton and left the state. Burrows’ adopted parents, in an effort to teach him a lesson, left him in Phoenix to fend for himself. In an effort to return to his hometown of Chicago, Burrows hopped onto a train and made it as far as Aguila, Arizona. There, Burrows learned that he was heading in the wrong direction, towards Los Angeles, California. Burrows was able to get a ride from Jack Martin who was heading to Phoenix. While en route to Phoenix, Martin began drinking intoxicating liquor. When they had stopped at a gas station about 55 miles from Phoenix, the attendant suggested that Burrows drive because Martin appeared to be too intoxicated. Martin agreed. Burrows had driven the vehicle a few miles before shooting and killing Martin. Burrows took money from Martin, hid his body in a creek and drove on to Phoenix. Burrows was later apprehended in Denver, Colorado and returned to Arizona. Burrows was charged with first-degree murder. At trial, Burrows testified that shortly after leaving Aguila, Martin had forced Burrows to drink liquor and if he refused, that Martin would not drive him to Phoenix. Burrows said he feared being left on the side of the road and thus complied. At the time of the shooting, Burrows testified that he was so dazed due to the liquor he had consumed that he did not realize he had shot Martin. Burrows was found guilty of first-degree murder, sentenced to death, and he appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lockwood, J.)

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