State v. Akins

Citation383 P.2d 180,94 Ariz. 263
Decision Date27 June 1963
Docket NumberNo. 1270,1270
PartiesThe STATE of Arizona, Appellee, v. Van AKINS, Sam Akins, and Bennie Akine, Appellants.
CourtSupreme Court of Arizona

Gibson & Gibson, Phoenix, for appellants.

Robert W. Pickrell, Atty. Gen., David M. Lurie, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Charles N. Ronan, County Atty. of Maricopa County, for appellee.


Appellants, Van Akins, Sam Akins and Bennie Akins, were charged with murder in the first degree, found guilty after trial and sentenced to life imprisonment. They appeal to this Court, urging that it was error for the court below to admit evidence of crimes distinct and independent from those with which they were charged.

On Sunday evening, October 29th, 1961, the appellants and two juveniles named Draper and Finnerson rode with appellants in an automobile owned and driven by Bennie Akins to a tavern at Hamilton's Corner near Chandler, Arizona. The automobile was backed up to the tavern where after a few minutes at about 6:30 P.M. a male Mexican came out of the tavern. The Mexican was then robbed in this manner: Sam Akins held a gun and Van Akins and Finnerson searched the victim and took from his person a gold watch and $1.50. The three then returned to the car and all drove around for about thirty minutes returning to Hamilton's Corner where again Bennie Akins backed the car against the tavern. Shortly two Indians drove up and as they were about to enter the tavern were called over to the car. Sam then threatened the Indians with the pistol while Bennie Akins, Van Akins and Finnerson searched them. However, nothing was found of value so the five drove to what is known as the Southside Tavern also near Chandler.

Again, the car was backed up near the tavern while appellants waited in the car until a Mexican, Tony Zambrano Aguilar, came out. In this instance Bennie Akins acted as a lookout. Van Akins ran up to the victim, threw him to the ground and held him down while Sam searched him, taking 50 cents and a chapstick. Van Akins violently kicked the victim five or six times causing six broken ribs and a ruptured spleen from which injuries the victim died a few hours later.

On this evidence the jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree and the three named appellants were sentenced to life imprisonment. The two juveniles, Draper and Finnerson, were not prosecuted as adults.

Appellants here assign three grounds for error all directed at the admission of testimony relating to the two incidents at Hamilton's Corner prior to the robbery near the Southside Tavern.

Evidence tending to show the commission of another crime entirely distinct and independent from that for which the accused is on trial is generally neither relevant nor admissible. We have repeatedly stated, however, the well recognized exception that evidence of other crimes is competent to prove the specific crime charged when it tends to establish motive, intent, the absence of mistake or accident, identity, a scheme or plan common to the commission of two or more crimes so related to each other that proof of one tends to establish the other. State v. Little, 87 Ariz. 295, 350 P.2d 756, 86 A.L.R.2d 1120.

It is urged by appellants that the alleged crimes of robbery committed at Hamilton's Corner are separate and distinct acts inadmissible under the exception to the general rule because they have no tendency to establish facts pertinent to the proof of the crime charged, murder in the first degree. We agree with the appellants' argument that due to the prejudicial nature of the proof of other offenses, the evidence should not be admitted simply on a showing that some parts of the offenses at Hamilton's Corner have similarities to that near the Southside Tavern unless the similarities are such that there can be inferred from them an essential element necessary to sustain the conviction of murder.

Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice...

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29 cases
  • State v. Taylor, 2500
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • 8 Julio 1975
    ...willful and premeditated or only accidental. People v. Chapman, 261 Cal.App.2d 149, 67 Cal.Rptr. 601 (1968), cf. State v. Akins, 94 Ariz. 263, 383 P.2d 180 (1963); State v. Serna, 69 Ariz. 181, 211 P.2d 455 (1949); 1 Wharton's Criminal Law § 251 at 539.' 14 Ariz.App. at 472, 484 P.2d at The......
  • State v. Harding, 5742
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • 30 Mayo 1984
    ...the offenses ... must be in those aspects where normally there could be expected to be found differences." State v. Akins, 94 Ariz. 263, 266, 383 P.2d 180, 182-83 (1963); State v. Harding, 137 Ariz. 278, 289, 670 P.2d 383, 394 (1983). Finally, differences between the acts must be considered......
  • State v. Mincey, 3283
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • 11 Mayo 1977 its terms requires scienter, and the felony murder provision requires an intent to commit the underlying felony. State v. Akins, 94 Ariz. 263, 383 P.2d 180 (1963). In this context the Legislature would not have intended the death penalty for a negligent killing nor would they have intend......
  • State v. Boag, 1780
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • 24 Abril 1969
    ...not fall within a recognized exception is neither relevant nor admissible. State v. Hughes, 102 Ariz. 118, 426 P.2d 386; State v. Akins, 94 Ariz. 263, 383 P.2d 180; Taylor v. State, All twelve jurors agreed with a verdict which was rendered before any knowledge of any prior conviction. Ther......
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