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Robert Marcus BURGUNDER Jr.





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - "Perfect crime"
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: May 1, 1939
Date of birth: January 10, 1917
Victims profile: Two automobile salesmen
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Status: Executed by asphyxiation-gas in Arizona on August 9, 1940


Monday, May. 15, 1939

Robert Marcus Burgunder Jr. was generally regarded by those who knew him as a model young man. He was smart. He was well-behaved. During school vacations he worked in the Wrest Coast harvest fields, drove a tractor on a cinema studio lot, organized magazine sales crews.

Robert's father is a respected lawyer in Seattle, a onetime prosecuting attorney. Robert followed each one of his father's criminal cases with intense interest, spotting in each case the malefactor's errors which led to detection and capture. Mr. Burgunder was somewhat puzzled by this queer absorption, but not enough disquieted to put a stop to it.

One day in 1936 dark, handsome Robert, not yet 20, put on his Boy Scout uniform, went out and held up a drugstore, took $14. He was identified and caught, sentenced to a reformatory. Mr. Burgunder began to suspect that there was a kink in his son's mind.

Eventually paroled, Robert entered a teachers' college at Tempe, Ariz. His classmates found him hard to understand, envied his ability to wangle high marks with hardly any study. His teacher of public speaking was puzzled when Robert handed in an outline for a speech entitled "Murder," describing a "perfect crime." Recently Robert's acquaintances noticed that he was acting even more queerly than usual. He moved out of his dormitory, took a room in a hotel.

In Phoenix last fortnight, two automobile salesmen were lounging in their showroom when a mannerly young man walked in, asked for a demonstration. All three went out in a car. They were not heard from again. From descriptions given them, police guessed that young Burgunder was one of the party.

Last week in Seattle, Mr. Burgunder, who had heard of the disappearance, was told that two men had been found shot dead in the Arizona desert, their feet bound with their own belts. "I hope," said he, "that one of them is my son." Then he was told that the bodies were those of the salesmen. Said Father Burgunder, "My God! I was afraid of that."

In Johnson City, Tenn., a student at East Tennessee State Teachers College became suspicious last week when a strange, nervous boy turned up and said he was going to enroll. Police looked him over, found an automatic pistol in his car, got him to admit he was Junior Burgunder. He swore that all he knew of the Phoenix killings was what he had heard over the radio.



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