Faltin v. State

Decision Date23 September 1915
Docket NumberCriminal 344
Citation151 P. 952,17 Ariz. 278
PartiesWILLIAM FALTIN, Appellant, v. STATE, Respondent
CourtArizona Supreme Court

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa, J. C. Phillips, Judge. Affirmed.


The appellant is charged and convicted of the willful and deliberate murder of Carl Peterson, committed on the ninth day of September, 1912, by crushing his head with an iron bar or other blunt instrument. The jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder of the first degree and fixed the punishment at death.

Briefly the circumstances relied upon for a conviction are as follows:

Appellant bought and moved on a tract of land in the early part of the year 1912. The place is situate south of the city of Phoenix and adjoins on the west a continuation of Seventh street, a street of the city. Adjoining the Faltin tract is the Pomero tract, of about the same size. The houses of Faltin and Pomero are near each other -- about 200 feet apart. Along the east side of Seventh street, on Faltin's ground, the surface drops down several feet, called by the witnesses "the river-bed," evidently having been caused from the river wash at high stages, but at low or normal stages the lower lands form what is sometimes called a "first bottom" of the river. Between the Seventh street line and the line of the declivity is several yards distance.

Faltin lived on his farm alone, until during June, 1912, Carl Peterson came from the hospital, where he had been sick, and lived with Faltin until September 9, 1912, when he disappeared. Before Peterson came to the Faltin place to live Faltin said to his neighbor, Pomero, that he (Faltin) believed that Peterson would die, that he would not get well and that he (Faltin) had better go to Glendale and get a wagon and team belonging to Peterson and have them in his possession in case Peterson died. Faltin deposited $1,400 in a bank in July, and during the month drew out all but $2.90. This money he paid on the purchase price of his land and for other necessary tools and machinery. In April, July and August Peterson gave him checks for small amounts. Faltin, worked at times teaming. When arrested Faltin had in his possession $137 in cash, largely gold coin. On September 1st Peterson drew from the Glendale bank $288.10. Faltin, on Saturday before the twelfth day of September, 1912, failed to pay his note due on the 1st of September, stating that he did not have the money, but that he would have the money by the 12th of September. The note was given for the purchase price of machinery. When the machinery was purchased, Peterson was in the hospital sick, and Faltin paid $50 cash, and told the seller that he had no more money at that time, but he had a friend who was sick who had lots of money, and when the friend got well he could get the money.

Between the hours of 2 and 3 o'clock A.M. of the 9th of September, 1912, Pomero and his wife heard Peterson screaming and calling Pomero for help. They dressed, but made no light, and did not then go to his assistance, as they heard no further noises. A few minutes later Faltin came near their house and asked Pomero if he wished to use the irrigating water, as it was then running. Pomero did not wish the water, and Faltin returned to his house and made a light. Then a wagon left his premises and was gone a short time, and later returned; then left again, and seemed to travel toward Phoenix. Faltin returned to his house with a wagon at about 6 o'clock in the morning. Pomero left about that time for the city, as was his custom, to get swill for his hogs. As he was going by Faltin's premises Faltin told him Peterson had gone away to the mines early that morning and would not be back for a few days. While Pomero was gone Faltin got a few buckets of water and a broom and went in his house and scrubbed on the steps and on a bridge. He went to a water-closet twice, and then took a pitchfork and threw a little hay near the door of his house. He took the pitchfork and went near a haystack standing near the declivity along Seventh street and pitched hay or rubbish for a few minutes and returned to his house. Then he went to Pomero's house and asked Pomero's wife if they heard noises at his (Faltin's) house that night when Peterson went away. She denied having heard noises there. Later Faltin went away and met an officer, who placed him under arrest. An examination of the Faltin house revealed quantities of blood stains on the floor and on a cot occupied by Peterson as a bed. Blood stains on the steps of Faltin's house, and pools of blood and brains, a large bar of iron, a part of a plow with blood, brains and light-colored hair on it, and a piece of bloody wood were found near the front door of the house. The pools of blood and the iron and wood were covered with hay lately thrown over them. A pair of bloody overalls and a shirt belonging to Faltin were found in the vault of a privy. Faltin told the officer who arrested him that Peterson had gone to the mines and would not return for three days. He told the same story to another witness in the jail. On Friday, prior to Monday, the 9th of September, Faltin was digging a hole between the declivity and his Seventh street line. On the early morning of the 9th he caused a load of garbage to be dumped where he had been digging on Friday. The officers searched for the body of Peterson, without success, until the 12th of September, when it was uncovered at the place Faltin had been digging and had caused the garbage to be dumped. When found, the head was crushed, one arm broken, and many bruises appeared on the body. Peterson's hair was of a light-brown color and of the color of the hairs found on the piece of iron.

After the accused was arrested he was given a close physical examination for wounds. The arresting officers found a blood splotch on his chest. Later on examination a wounded finger was found, and that wound was healing. No other wounds were found on his body. After the body was found Faltin told a fellow prisoner, one Beckton, the circumstances of the killing. Other prisoners heard part of the story.

The accused made his statement of the matter as a witness. The substance of his statement was to the effect that on the night in question a clock had sounded an alarm, and had awakened Peterson. This had irritated Peterson, and Faltin and Peterson had words over the matter, Peterson accusing Faltin of having purposely set the alarm to annoy him, and Faltin claiming to have set the alarm on the time he expected the irrigation water to reach his farm. A few minutes later Pomero and two of his Italian friends came in the room and demanded that Faltin permit them to use the irrigating water, and over this a dispute arose between Faltin and the Italians. During the dispute, while Peterson was yet in bed, he remarked that someone should kill Faltin, and immediately Pomero and his two friends began a fight with Faltin. They got Faltin to the floor in a corner twice, and dazed him by hitting him over the head a number of times with a club. Finally he escaped by jumping over Peterson's cot and going out into the yard. Here he stumbled into a ditch and fell. While lying in the small ditch, slightly on one side, Peterson appeared over him, holding him down, and called for Pomero by name of "Nick" to come and help him. Then Peterson got accused's finger in his mouth and held it there. Pomero and his friends came to the assistance of Peterson, and Pomero had the piece of iron in his hands and began to strike Peterson over and about the head with the iron, causing the blood and brains to splash over Faltin, some blood going into Faltin's mouth and over his clothes. After Pomero struck several blows, Peterson appeared to be dead, and then Faltin, with the assistance of some of the others, placed the body on blankets or a piece of canvas and carried it out among the sunflowers and weeds, and wrapped it up and left it there. Pomero and his friends told the accused if he reported on them they would kill him. One of the party went with the accused up to the city until the accused got a remedy at a drug-store for his many wounds, and also got two cigars. They started back, and when they had gone a short distance the man left the wagon, and accused returned home. When he returned to the house he scrubbed the floor and the step with a wet gunny-sack to remove the blood stains. He threw the overalls and the shirt in the privy. He scrubbed the blood from the bridge. He covered the blood pools and piece of iron and wood with hay. He went to the haystack and threw rubbish about, and when the garbageman came along with a load of garbage he had the man dump that where he expected to fill up the declivity. He stated that he was using a shovel on Friday, before Monday, the 9th, but he was throwing dirt over the paper dumped there, so that the garbageman would not be afraid to drive over it with a load. Accused said he told the officers and the prisoners that Peterson had gone to the mines and would not return for several days, and admitted that statement was untrue, but that he made the statement through fear of the Italians.

The transcript of the reporter's notes of the oral testimony taken in the case is voluminous, and many details appear there which are not mentioned in this statement, but the essential important facts relied on by the appellant and by the respondent appear. Such minor details that are important appear in the opinion. The verdict was received, and judgment of conviction followed, and the death penalty and execution fixed. The time fixed for execution has long since expired. From the judgment of conviction and from an order refusing a new...

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12 cases
  • State v. Maloney, 1611
    • United States
    • Arizona Supreme Court
    • July 13, 1966
    ...as recently as State v. McGee, 91 Ariz. 101, 370 P.2d 261, cert. den. 371 U.S. 844, 83 S.Ct. 75, 9 L.Ed.2d 79. See also Faltin v. State, 17 Ariz. 278, 151 P. 952; Macias v. State, 36 Ariz. 140, 283 P. 711; Sullivan v. State of Arizona, 47 Ariz. 224, 55 P.2d Defendant next contends that prej......
  • Sullivan v. State
    • United States
    • Arizona Supreme Court
    • March 2, 1936
    ... ... a whole, would be misled thereby." ... But, ... even assuming that this was not part of the instruction but ... an instruction upon one phase of the case, complete in ... itself, we think it is not erroneous. In the ... [55 P.2d 317] ... case of Faltin v. State, 17 Ariz. 278, 151 ... P. 952, 957, we said: ... "No appreciable length of time is required to exist for ... deliberation and premeditation; the fact that the killing ... results from deliberation and premeditation is all that the ... law requires to justify a ... ...
  • State v. Johns
    • United States
    • Arizona Supreme Court
    • November 4, 1969
    ...as successive thoughts: State v. McGee, 91 Ariz. 101, 370 P.2d 261 (1962); Sullivan v. State, 47 Ariz. 224, 55 P.2d 312; Faltin v. State, 17 Ariz. 278, 151 P. 952; and May v. State, 232 Ind. 523, 112 N.E.2d Our examination of the record on appeal shows that there was ample evidence from whi......
  • Vigil v. State
    • United States
    • Arizona Supreme Court
    • December 19, 1927
    ... ... Code 1913, ... par. 515). We have held repeatedly that instructions must be ... construed as a whole, and appellant may not take therefrom ... isolated phrases or sentences and predicate error theron when ... the instructions, when taken altogether, correctly state the ... law. Faltin v. State, 17 Ariz. 278, 151 P ... 952; Lenord v. State, 15 Ariz. 137, 137 P ... 412; Vincent v. State, 16 Ariz. 297, 145 P ... We have ... examined the instructions in this case carefully, and, while ... the one objected to is perhaps somewhat unhappily worded, we ... think that ... ...
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