Murder Charge And A Chilling 911 Tape

Police recording captures lethal confrontation

Randy Burnett (left) entered the property of Mike Voden (right) in the early morning hours of Nov. 9 to retrieve his dog, Scooter, from Voden's yard.

Randy Burnett (left) entered the property of Mike Voden (right) in the early morning hours of Nov. 9 to retrieve his dog, Scooter, from Voden's yard.

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Voden 911 call (Viewer discretion advised)

Call Mike Voden made to 911 Nov. 9, 2013.

Call Mike Voden made to 911 Nov. 9, 2013.

A Gila County grand jury has indicted a Payson man on charges of second-degree murder for killing his neighbor. Michael Alan Voden, 72, pleaded not guilty Monday in Globe during his arraignment.

A judge set a million dollar cash bond.

Voden has been in custody since reportedly shooting and killing neighbor Randy Burnett in Voden’s driveway off Rancho Road in the early morning hours of Nov. 9.

Randy and his wife Brenda had moved in next door to Voden and his wife Pat Rollins just a few days earlier. That morning, the Burnett’s dog Scooter got into Voden’s yard and would not come back.

The Roundup obtained the 911 tape that recorded the conversation between Voden and dispatch that continued before, during and after the shooting. Although the dispatcher repeatedly told Voden to stay inside his house, Voden went outside to confront Burnett. For a transcript of the 911 tape see below. To hear the tape, go to the Roundup’s Web site, payson.com.

On the tape, Voden tells the dispatcher he sees someone in his yard. Ignoring the dispatcher’s pleas to remain in the house, Voden goes to the side door and evidently confronts Burnett, yelling “Get this, get this (expletive) dog out of my yard right now,” as the dog howls in the background.

“Mike! Do not approach them! Go back in the house,” says the dispatcher.

“They are messing up my garden,” replied Voden.

The dispatcher pleaded again: “OK. You need to go back into your house, I am going to get officers en route.”

However, Voden seems to shift his attention to Burnett yelling “Get up out right now!”

Burnett says something unintelligible on the tape.

Voden says, “I will.”

Four loud gunshots follow in quick succession, as the dog howls in the background, mixed with the sound of someone screaming.

The dispatcher urges Voden to get back into the house.

“It is too late now,” said Voden. “We got one down.”

“Go back into your house,” says the dispatcher.

“What did you say?” asks the dispatcher.

Voden replies, “I said there was a guy in my yard. He was attacking me. He jumped on me.”

The tape will likely prove a crucial piece of evidence in reconstructing the confrontation that led to Burnett’s death.

Burnett’s wife, Brenda, previously told the Roundup she went outside to round up the couple’s hound dog, but couldn’t coax Scooter out of Voden’s yard, the Da Love Ananda Botanical Gardens. She woke her husband to get him to help her get Scooter, but the dog would not listen to either of their commands.

Brenda said she went back into their yard to grab a ball to lure the dog when she heard a pop. She turned around and saw Randy near the side door to Voden’s home.

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The photo above shows the separation between the home of Randy Burnett and Mike Voden. Note the police officers at the side door of Voden’s house where he shot and killed Burnett, who came onto Voden’s property to get his dog.

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Contributed photo

Randy Burnett

She saw Voden and Randy talking and heard gunshots. Randy fell to the ground. Paramedics declared him dead at the scene.

Voden was taken to the hospital complaining of chest pains, but was later released to officers.

Rollins told the Roundup that Voden was protecting himself from Randy, a man he did not know that had shown up on their property unexpectedly that morning.

Brenda meanwhile says Randy, who had pancreatic cancer, would not hurt anyone and she cannot fathom why Voden shot and killed her husband. She said it looked like her husband had his hands up in the air before Voden shot him.

Brenda has been staying with friends since the incident. She went back to the home shortly after the shooting to gather supplies, but broke down when she saw where Randy had been lying on the side of Voden’s yard.

Still, she said she is “holding up because I believe in Jesus Christ.”

Randy was recently buried at a veterans memorial cemetery near Cave Creek. Brenda said while the service was beautiful, including the Navy salute, it was upsetting when the honor guard fired volley shots

“The gunshots didn’t go over so well with me,” she said. “I had to hold my sister’s hand.”

Disabled, Brenda is living off her Social Security. She hopes to get into a senior apartment soon because she cannot live in the rental home near where Randy was killed.

“It was a very scary thing to have gone through,” she said.

Brenda is planning a local memorial for Randy at Mountain Bible Church.

A fund has been set up in Brenda’s name at Safeway. Several people have already donated.

“I am so thankful,” Brenda said for the donations. “There are good people in this town.”

The next hearing in the case is set for March.

911 RECORDING CAPTURES DEADLY CONFRONTATION

Editor’s Note: A Roundup reporter made this transcription of the 911 tape documenting Mike Voden’s call to police about a dog in his yard. The call continued through Voden’s shooting of his neighbor and for several minutes afterward. This is not an official court transcript. Key portions of the sound proved unintelligible, which we’ve noted in the transcript. To hear the full transcript, go to payson.com.

Dispatch: 911 where is your emergency?

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 and I don’t know what the hell is going on but there something is going on here.

Dispatch: OK. Are you are hearing yelling. What is going on?

Voden: Oh well a bunch of them were yelling about something, but I don’t know what. (Door creaks) I am going out to see what is going on.

Dispatch: OK. Don’t approach them. (Background voices unintelligible)

Dispatch: Mike. (Background voices unintelligible)

Dispatch: Don’t approach them. (Dog howls in background)

Voden: I got. I got (unintelligible) dogs.

Dispatch: Do not approach them. (Background voices unintelligible)

Dispatch: Go back in your house.

Voden: Get this, get this (expletive) dog out of my yard right now.

(Dog howls in background)

Dispatch: Mike! Do not approach them! Go back in your house!

Voden: They are messing up my garden.

Dispatch: OK, you need to go back into your house I am going to get officers en route.

(Background voices unintelligible)

Voden (to Randy): Get up out right now.

(Background voices unintelligible)

Dispatch (to officers): 452 disturbances is in progress.

(Background voices unintelligible)

Voden: I will.

(Gunshot. Gunshot. Gunshot. Gunshot.)

(Dog howls in background)

Dispatch (to officers): 515 E. Rancho Road RP is approaching (unintelligible) in his yard I can hear him screaming. (Unintelligible yelling in background of Voden’s call)

Dispatch: Mike, go back into your house.

Voden: It is too late now. We got one down.

Dispatch: Go back into your house. What did you say?

Voden: I said there was a guy in my yard. He was attacking me (breathing heavily). He jumped on me.

Dispatch: You need to go back into your house.

Voden: (Breathing heavily) Well you better, I think I think (dispatch cuts him off).

Dispatch (to officers): 452 I am advising the RP to go back into his house, he will not listen.

(Heavy breathing)

Dispatch: Mike what is your phone number?

Voden: Huh? (information omitted)

Dispatch: OK. Did you go back in your house?

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 officers): 452 RP advises he is now in the house. He is injured.

Dispatch (to Voden): Who attacked you?

Voden: The guy next door.

Dispatch: Who is it?

Voden: I don’t know who it is.

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 officers): 452 RP shot the male subject. I repeat male subject has been shot.

Dispatch (to Voden): What kind of gun do you have?

Voden: It’s ... it’s a Glock.

Dispatch (to officers): 452 standby

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. Uh I am having a ... having a (unintelligible). I got a heart thing too. My heart is buzzing I got to sit down.

Dispatch: OK, Mike take a few deep breaths.

Voden: I am not understanding you.

Dispatch: Mike I want you sit down and take a few deep breaths.

Voden: Yeah.

Dispatch: Where are you in the house?

Voden: Uh I was switching sides of my phone.

Dispatch: Mike. Mike, I need you to listen to me. Where are you in the house?

Voden: I am in my kitchen. I am sitting down though.

Dispatch: OK, take a deep breath.

Dispatch (to officers): 452 RP is in the kitchen. It will be Mike Voden.

Voden: I am having some chest pains right now.

Dispatch: OK.

Voden: (Breathing heavily) Ma’am?

Dispatch: Yes?

Voden: I got to hang up. I got to get some drugs stuff here.

Dispatch: No, Mike I need you to stay on the phone with me.

Voden: I can’t, I got to get some medications.

Dispatch: Mike? Mike?

(Call ends)

Comments

Kim Chittick 5 months ago

Hmmm, I count 6 times that Dispatch told Mr. Voden to go back into his house and to not approach Mr. Burnette.

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Heather Dotson 5 months ago

He should have stayed in his house. He wasn't in any danger, the guy was just trying to get his dog. This was so unnecessary.

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Travis Livengood 5 months ago

If he doesn't get put away for the rest of his years, there needs to be a serious investigation.

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Rex Hinshaw 5 months ago

What a tragedy. I'm truly sorry for the victim and his wife. From what I've read , he and his wife are nice people that were dealing with serious health issues. But I also know Mr. Voden. He is small in stature (about 5'-7") and quiet. I know his garden meant alot to him. It's easy for people to say that Mr. Voden should have stayed in his house....and I agree....but I think his garden meant too much to him and made him confront the stranger in his yard.... a much larger and younger man. I'm not trying to take sides , but let's try to be fair. It is just sad all the way around.

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Kim Chittick 5 months ago

Mr. Hinshaw, I appreciate you trying to be fair and I absolutely do agree that it is very sad all the way around. However, in the first story that this newspaper published about this situation, they made it a point to mention a column or plaque or something that Mr. Voden and his partner proudly displayed in their home with the word "peace" written in several different languages. There has also been mention of the fact that Mr. Voden created the garden for his partner and named it after her "spiritual leader", Da Love Ananda Garden. So, if Mr. Voden was so filled with peace and spiritual serenity, why on Earth would his garden be more important to him than human life??

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Rex Hinshaw 5 months ago

Kim, How in the world you could twist my comments into garden vs human life is beyond me. I speculated that his garden meant enough to him to leave the safety of his house and confront the stranger in his yard. My comments were in response to your and Heather's comments about him staying in his house. As far as the confrontation and shooting, I do not want to speculate. Mr. Livengood, You have the right to your opinion, but Mr. Voden has the right to a trial and is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. You are not judge and jury.

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Kim Chittick 5 months ago

See Rex?? This is what a direct reply to your comment would look like.

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Kim Chittick 5 months ago

Rex, I was NOT twisting YOUR words. If you may notice, my comment was not written as a direct reply to YOUR comment. Rather, it was a comment in the continuing thread. Had I been responding directly to your comment, it would have been slightly indented under your comment. That is what the reply button is for, to reply DIRECTLY to the previous comment, rather than as a general comment in the continuing thread

As for Mr. Voden's size, I believe there is a saying that goes something like, "there is none so big as he with a gun in his hands".

In accordance with our justice system, of course Mr. Voden is innocent until proven guilty. I am quite certain that none of us on this thread is coordinating a lynching party. We are simply commenting on a small town tragedy, the likes of which many of us have not seen since our lives in the big city. Many of us knew or knew of and cared about someone involved in this tragic situation.

Finally, there are few things in this world which matter enough to me to put myself in harms way: My husband, my children and grandchildren, and my dog. There are many other things of monetary or sentimental value which matter to me, however, not enough that I would approach someone unknown who was in my yard, especially after I had contacted the police and was aware that help was on the way.

By all reports, Mr. Burnette, who was (as reported) very ill with pancreatic cancer, an illness which many of us are all too familiar with, had been awakened from a sound sleep by his wife to help her round up their dog, who had wandered into Mr. Voden's yard. The Burnette's and their dog had only lived next door to Mr. Voden less than 2 WEEKS. Now, if Scooter had been wandering in to the garden of peace on a daily basis for years, or even months, I could perhaps understand Mr. Voden's frustration, however, LESS THAN 2 WEEKS!!!??? Really??

As someone elsewhere commented, the directive from the Dispatcher for Mr. Voden to stay in the house and not approach Mr. Burnette. was simply a request. Of course Mr. Voden was not constrained to follow the request as though it were an order. However, had Mr. Voden complied with the request, 2 families would not be devastated.

Now, as I have done on another thread regarding this situation, I am bowing out. I am personally involved in a situation very similar to this one and refuse to go any deeper into this intense discussion. Rex, I continue to keep your ill wife, as well as you, in my prayers, for a wonderful and positive outcome.

Blessings to each of you. Go with God.

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Rex Hinshaw 5 months ago

Opinions respected and thank you for you prayers. I hesitate to use the reply function because it kind of messes up the timeline progress of the string. But as you can see....I know how =)

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Tanya DeWitt 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Mr. Hinshaw I have been reading your comments for the last few days and you seriously need to learn the facts and maybe choose your words better. Voden was not in any danger and if you listen to the 911 tape you would know this. Kim's interpretation of your words "his garden meant too much to him" is exactly how many are interpreting them as Randy's life was less valuable then Vodens garden. In the actuall 911 recording Voden states the neighbors dog was in his yard. He knew where they came from and why they were in his yard. A good neighbor would have assisted but that is not what Voden did. Also if you listen to the 911 recording IF Voden was in any danger and Randy was attacking him you would be able to hear a scuffle and yelling. Instead all you can hear is Voden (who is suppose to be a peace loving man, a man that has also been known to carry a gun and has taken a gun to town council meetings quite a contradiction if you ask me) but all you can hear is Voden who disregarded instructions to stay in his house yelling to get the f#%*ing dog out of his yard and making threats to use his gun which you can hear 4 gun shots immediately following his demand to get the dog. I know for a fact that Randy who was awaken to help Brenda would never and did not attack Voden. Also I seen your comments on Rollins's article where she claims Voden was attacked and he acted in self defense. HOW DARE YOU scold any one for their comments when you still put the value of that garden above the life a human being. Also she was in bed at the time of the incident, a statement she gave to police and was published in the paper so her description of the incident is FALSE. Voden also changed his story from "people getting their dog" to "people yelling and then Randy charging at him with the dog swinging his fists". However Brenda was there and witnessed the cold hearted murder of the love of her life.
So now because Voden valued his possessions more than a human life, my Aunt Brenda is robbed of the time she had left with my Uncle Randy a good man, a navy veteran, a man that took care of her due to her own failing health while he was battling cancer. A man that was so selfless that after he was told how much time he had left he started to make plans with my mom and uncles so my Aunt Brenda would not be alone when his time came to go be with God.

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Kim Chittick 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Aaaah Tanya, may I express heartfelt condolences to you and all your family. Please know that you will all remain in my thoughts and prayers.

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