Sunday June 26, 2016
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I'm sure you are all trying to puzzle out what happened, and why, in the recent shooting on Rancho Road. We don't know much, but here are some extracts from the article (which you should read if you haven't already done it) which may set you thinking.
I have put important words in caps.
• Mike Voden reportedly called police just before 7:30 a.m. Saturday reporting his neighbor’s hound dog WAS IN HIS YARD, at 515 E. Rancho Road, and there was some ONGOING disturbance.
• "It appears Voden shot the man AFTER calling police and then went inside to wait for officers."
• It took officers just minutes to respond, but when they did, they found Voden’s neighbor lying dead NEAR THE SIDE DOOR to Voden’s white home.
This could be completely wrong, but here, for what it is worth, is a scenario which might tie those statements together:
The presence of a stray dog on someone's property led to dispute which became heated, causing one of the participants to call the police, and to later shoot the other participant, who was at the time of the shooting in or near his side doorway.
Maybe the man was trying to get into Mr. Vodens house?
That would be a possible conclusion form the very sparse evidence we have been given, and if it's true then it would be a case of self-defense.
I don't know if all of you read the updated, much longer report on this, but if you haven't you should. Much more information.
How many of you listened to the 911 call? Shouldn't the dispatcher been dispatching instead of telling Mr. Voden what to do. To tell him to stay where he was that she was dispatching someone after he said he was going after his heart medicine because he thought he was having a heart attack is unforgivable.
What puzzles me most about all this is that the very first report said that he had been charged with murder. Don't they investigate things before they file charges anymore? Is there some reason to rush?
Just to be clear, she was dispatching officers all the while she was talking Voden.
On the tape I listened to she talked for quite a while and then said I am going to dispatch someone now. You could hear her when she was dispatching.
Maybe we both need to listen to it again.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.
When I first moved to Payson, I was a Dispatcher for Payson Police Department. I can assure all that what Mr. Naughton said is exactly the truth. The moment the Dispatcher had the pertinent details of the call: address, what, who; that Dispatcher had units rolling. The fact that you could not hear her dispatching officers simply meant that she either utilized the mute button on her end, or that she covered the mic while she dispatched officers, which is most likely. If a Dispatcher leaves their end of the mic open while dispatching units, while they also have a reporting party on the line, the cross talk gets too confusing for all, and the reporting party doesn't know if Dispatch is talking to them or somebody else.
The simple fact that you did not hear the dispatch call going out, did not mean that it was not done until the end of the call.
Finally Pat, I understand your empathy for him, and the outrage that you felt that Dispatch was telling him to stay where he was when he said he was going after his heart medicine. However, and I want to stress that I am not saying that this was the case in this situation; I am simply saying that in general...people lie...all the time. Whether or not the Dispatcher knew the calling party, there are protocols and guidelines by which law enforcement must abide if they wish to stay alive. For all that Dispatcher knew, the caller was using his heart medicine as an excuse to take off or do more damage, or...whatever the case may be. First and foremost, it is the responsibility of the Dispatcher to get as much information as possible from the caller, as well as make every effort to keep the caller on the line, so as to ensure the safety and security of law enforcement and all other emergency personnel.
KIm, Your post is very clear and helps clarify what the usual process is. Thank you.
I can only go by what I heard. She never shut up talking to the suspect long enough to dispatch until she told him she was going to and you can also hear her as she talked and rattled off the code numbers she needed to tell the officer. That was the tape I heard.
Sorry if I have insulted the whole world with my opinion of what I heard on the tape.
I have called 911 here and in Mesa and it seems that the dispatchers waste a lot of time asking questions. In my opinion they need a name, address, medical or criminal to know who to dispatch. They don't need a birthdate, how bad is your pain, how long have you had it and all the other questions I have been asked.
Pat, I have been on the other end of many, many 911 calls. What information that you deem important, as opposed to the information that first responders need, may be vastly different. The Dispatchers goal is to provide as much information to the Police Officers so as to ensure that they are as safe as possible, walking into an unknown situation. Sometimes the questions are even an effort to keep the caller on the line and calm until Officers can arrive at the scene.
The simple fact that you did not hear the Dispatcher dispatching personnel may mean that she was dispatching via computer, or was writing the information down for another Dispatcher to relay the information to the rolling units. I know that many of you think that you have watched enough Adam-12 or Chips, or have made enough calls to 911 yourself that you know exactly what goes on behind the scenes when a 911 call is answered. However, I can assure you, you know little to nothing. What you may hear on the tape seems to be a cold, unfeeling automaton simply asking questions from a check off sheet. Nothing could be further from the truth. After my first 911 suicide call, I did what I needed to do until my shift was completed. I then went home and puked my guts out and then cried for hours. I then took my Bible and went and sat on the Rim praying and reading Scripture. I was then able to let go of it and go back to my job to do what needed to be done.
No disrespect intended Pat, but, again, your opinion of what is important and Law Enforcement's opinion are vastly different.
I didn't listen to the 911 tape; I read it. Here's a link for anyone who would like to do that:
Murder charge and a chilling 911 tape
by Alexis Bechman
I don't think anything could be clearer than that tape. It lays out what happened moment by moment.
Try reading it again. It portrays quite a picture. Whoever transcribed that tape did one hell of a good job.
Key points, leaving out anything to do with dispatching, and focusing only on the details of the shooting.
Voden: Uh this is Mike Voden, 515 E. Rancho. I got the peep in my yard and the dogs in my yard from next door...
Voden: Get this, get this (expletive) dog out of my yard right now.
Voden (to Randy): Get up out right now.
(Background voices unintelligible)
Voden: I will.
(Gunshot. Gunshot. Gunshot. Gunshot.)
Dispatch: Mike, go back into your house.
Voden: It is too late now. We got one down.
Voden: I said there was a guy in my yard. He was attacking me (breathing heavily). He jumped on me.
Voden: I am in the house now, but I got blood all over me.
Dispatch: Were you attacked by the dogs?
Voden: No, the guy attacked me.
Dispatch (to Voden): Who attacked you?
Voden: The guy next door.
Dispatch: Where are you hurt?
Voden: It’s his blood I think. It’s all over my house. It’s on my hands. It’s on my gun.
Dispatch: OK. Did you attack the other male?
Voden: No, I was in my yard I was on my sidewalk and he come up and start swinging at me. He was going to jump me.
Dispatch: OK. Why is there his blood on you?
Voden: Well cause he was that close, that’s why.
Dispatch: OK. Did you hit him. What happened?
Voden: Did what?
Dispatch: Did you hit him? Why is his blood on you?
Voden: He was attacking me and I shot him.
Dispatch (to Voden): Where is your gun?
Voden: It is in my house.
Dispatch: Is it next to you?
Voden: It’s on my table.
If those are facts, it is hard to understand why charges have been filed.
To touch on the theme of another string, never approach an armed individual!
Going one step further, it is foolish to the extreme to attack someone who is pointing a gun at you. If you do it you leave him or her no choice but to shoot; the alternative being that the attacker will then have the gun.
Don made the two critical points on this issue.
"Tom, your advise to never approach an individual that's pointing a firearm in your direction or at you is absolutely correct. Retreat is not a dirty word in such a situation."
The other point he made is that the question of who approached who is critical!
Please listen to the tape. It was Vodens house and he was in his own yard. right? He told them to get out and get the dog out.
But from the timeline, how much time did he allow them to get out?
Tom, what you just posted above revealed something I hadn't picked up on. IF the transcript is correct, Voden KNEW that the individual in the yard and the dog, was a neighbor from next door. Not a total stranger to him. Just food for thought.
He knew it was the people from next door but they were strangers to him as they had only moved in two days before.
Like all things that happen, no one hears or sees the same things when questioned and telling what they saw and heard or read. Since none of us were there we form our own opinions on what we hear or read. Right or wrong?
Don, you are right. I noticed that myself.
Pat, oddly enough so are you. Another story said that they were just moving in, so I don't suppose there was any chance of what Don is probably thinking — that there could have been some kind of built-up animosity. Not yet anyway. And we don't know what they yelled at each other outside. I would suspect that the first thing the poor guy said was something that made it plain who he was, something like, "I'm just trying to get my dog back in my yard; he must have slipped through the fence." (Or not, who knows?)
The thing that bothers me about this is that the poor guy made a couple of very bad mistakes, but he didn't have to pay for them the way he did.
The first big mistake was going into someone's yard without first asking permission. Would you do that? unless it was some kind of emergency and I knew the people were not home, I dang sure wouldn't. Did he go through a gate? If so, that make it doubly risky.
And yelling back at someone who yells at you to get out of his yard is another big mistake. You know you're in the wrong; the thing to do is to apologize if you can. If not, just leave! Let the police take care of it. And if the person yelling at you has a gun in his hand, that's all the more reason to act with great care.
I have a little more to say, but it's time to light the oven and get the turkey ready.
Have a good Thanksgiving everyone.
Let us not forget that Randy had a wife, and no doubt other people who cared about him, and that she, and they, have very little to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day. I hope that she is with someone today.
The real tragedy here is that a man's life was lost.
There but for the grace of God go I.
On this of all days, this is not a topic anyone wants to discuss. We sit in our homes each year at Thanksgiving offering our thanks to the Lord for our blessings. We do it even at times when it may not be easy to see those blessings. We do it because we all know that no matter how gray things may be they could always be worse.
But two Payson families may not be able to feel that today — and with good reason. Each of them has lost a loved one, and though Pat Rollins may have lost her Mike only for the time being, there is no doubt about what Brenda Burnett has lost. For most of us it would be everything. I know it would be for me. God bless you, Brenda; my eyes fill with tears every time I think of how you must feel.
And yet, as much as that troubles me, I am troubled by something else too. I'll talk about it in a separate post.
I am worried that not one, but two terrible tragedies may play out here. That's the only reason I am sitting here typing while I wait for the happy moment when the turkey comes out of the oven in 15 minutes. I just pray that justice is done — whatever that justice may be. Already I hear rumblings of the Fish case, echoes of what was a clear miscarriage of justice, something that should worry every one of us because we never know who is going to be the next one snatched up by the system and ground to dust.
I hear some people trying to find a reason to turn what certainly appears to have been a case of self-defense into something else. I hear people saying that the dispatcher on the tape repeatedly told Mike Voden to stay in his house, and that he thereby is to blame for what happened. There's a small concept of law that comes into play when trying to decide what caused something. It's called "proximate cause." It is defined at "that thing without which the event could not have occurred." The proximate cause in this incident is that poor Randy Burnett chose to be in a place where he had no legal right to be.
Isn't it true that but for that one thing this tragedy could never have occurred?
That is not, however, the end of the story
Don made some thoughtful comments earlier that posed unasked questions that cry out for answers. Basically, he was saying that the question in any case which follows from this tragedy is going to ask who the aggressor was. That is, of course, a prime question.
Reading everything that has been reported so far on this rotten thing I have to think about and write about, here is what I can glean from it. Take it for what it is worth.
• Taped comments indicate that Randy Burnett was not near the door to Mike Voden's house when he was first seen. He was seen in the garden trying to retrieve his dog.
• The original Roundup article stated that when police arrived Randy was "...already lying dead near the side door to Voden’s home."
• That, taken with what we have read, or listened to, on the 911 tape appears to indicate that larger, younger Randy approached older, shorter — and armed — Mike Voden.
IF that is so — please notice the IF — then all I can say it then Randy made a terrible mistake, and paid a terrible price for it I wish he had not paid.
I am no Solomon. Furthermore, I am as innocent of knowledge of criminal law as a babe in arms. But, like you, I think, and I have opinions. This space is where I write them down. Opinions are like ears; everyone has a couple. Please add yours.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: There is not much good that comes out of something like this. The very least we can hope for is justice, and that others learn not to make the same mistake.
First, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there. Unless some unknown witness, video, recording etc. pop's up that none of us know about now, this case will basically boil down to:
1. What forensic evidence is there that "proves" the distance between the shooter and victim and their specific locations at that time the shots were fired.
2. Any conflicting statements verbal or written from any defendant/witness who claim direct knowledge of the facts at the time of the incident.
3. What evidence is there that supports a scenario that the victim attacked, threatened, or posed eminent physical harm to the shooter.
4. Was the known by sight neighbor victim "commanded" at gun point to approach the shooter with his hands raised, then subsequently shot?
This happened in our community. A very general outline of the incident has been reported in the media. I see no problem with discussing it and offering our opinions on this forum. Apparently the familial relations of both involved party's don't either. As Tom remarked, opinions are just lot's of thoughts, not facts. Those come much later...
You have finally posted something I can completely agree with. I just wish you could have used the same logic in your comments to his wife's letter to the editor.
I am getting educated in the fact that the internet , and this forum , can legally , try to influenence opinions. I think this taints the jury pool. I just hope that justice is done.
And Don , I think opinions offered on this forum do . and can make a difference.
Sometimes people give opinions on what they would do if something like this happens to them. Then if it actually happens everything changes.
Payson has changed since I was growing up here a long, long time ago.
We never locked our doors, slept outside in the summer time, the keys were always in the car and it was wonderful as I look back. Kids were safe no matter where we were.
Now I lock my car unless it is in my garage. Keep my security screen locked at all times.
So thankful I have it. A neighbor knocked on my door one day and said he wanted to talk to me. I told him I had nothing to say to him and he grabbed the handle on the screen to come in. I slammed my solid metal door and dialed 911. If I had had my pistol by the door you may have been reading about me shooting someone and I knew who he was. The police responded very quickly. I still don't feel completely safe but don't want to move from my home. He lets his large dog out in front of my house without a leash about once a week to bark at me. You live with what you are dealt with one way or another.
Rex, Don, thanks. Good sensible, logical comments. I'd like to see people like you sitting on the jury if this is ever brought to trial. I will NEVER forget the statement made by one of the jurors at the Fish trial who made a public statement that she voted guilty because he carried "such a big gun."
I am by no means some gun nut, but that comment truly floored me. I will be honest. If ever I am charged with a crime of which I am innocent I will take a bench trial and place my life in the hands of a judge who will not be influenced by the baloney sliced up by some prosecutor.
Believe it or not, by the way, what was true here in rural Arizona was also true in our neighborhood in New York City. Evidence? We did not own a door key for the front door. The lock was a Yale lock which was never locked. It was one of those which some of you may remember, ones that did not require a key to lock it either from inside or outside. Along the edge of the door were two metal push buttons. Push one in and the door locked. Push the other and it unlocked. Of course when the door was closed it was impossible to push any buttons, so I never quite got the logic of that. Somehow or other our front door got locked. There we were, all standing outside and thinking we would have to break a window to get it. Frankie, always the genius in those days, got a screwdriver and worked it into the door slot until he could push the right button.
And Pat, I'll bet that everyone reading this will agree that you just said the truest thing ever written on this forum:
"Sometimes people give opinions on what they would do if something like this happens to them. Then if it actually happens everything changes."
I'm sure that most of you read the quite detailed article which appeared in Friday's paper about the subject of this string.
As far as I have been able to see the critical issues all along have been just what Don Evans, a trained police officer, said they were at the time:
The other point Don made was that the question of who approached who is critical.
I think we have the answer to both of those now. According to the article:
• Randy Burnett was shot just four feet from the back door of Mike Voden's house, right where Mike was standing at the time.
• The blood spatter pattern on Mike Voden verifies that Randy Burnett was very close to him when Mike pulled the trigger. In fact, some of the blood spatter marks show that the blood was traveling upward, meaning that poor Randy was very close indeed.
Another point that needed clarification was the fact that what Randy's wife, Brenda, said differed from what others said. We now have a pertinent fact related to that:
• It was impossible for Brenda to see what happened as Randy approached Mike Voden because he was hidden her view by a large tall van.
Don mentioned other things, but with some of the evidence not yet revealed we do not yet know all the answers. However, the question of whether or not the shooting was from up close and very near the back door is now answered.
One other, completely off the subject, comment. Something that slipped right by me because the seriousness of the event:
Kim said, "When I first moved to Payson, I was a Dispatcher for Payson Police Department."
Why, Kim, you little devil! You really DO have expertise in such things, don't you? That must have been some job. I'll bet you could tell some stories!
If you ever get in the mood to tell what it was like sitting in the hot seat I'm sure people would love hearing about it. And not necessarily here either; a nicely written article would be something people would read with great interest. I know I would. We never hear about 911 calls from that point of view.
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