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Arizona Judicial Branch

RELISHING

RELISHING FINDING UPHELD

State v. Clark, 126 Ariz. 428, 616 P.2d 888 (1980)
PRE-GRETZLER CASE
The defendant killed four human beings without justification or excuse. Two of them had provided a home and work for him after his release from a juvenile correctional institution. The third victim was supposed to be a friend of the defendant. The defendant's state of mind was illustrated by his comment, "[y]ou should have seen Charley when I hit him with those cutters." The defendant also kept a spent bullet as a grisly souvenir of his crime.

State v. Bishop (Bishop II)
, 127 Ariz. 531, 622 P.2d 478 (1981)
PRE-GRETZLER CASE
Looking to the mental state and attitude of the defendant, the Court found that the defendant hit the victim several times with a hammer, removed the victim's wallet, watch and shoes, hog-tied him, dragged him fifty feet to a mine shaft where the victim fell in, and threw rocks on top of the victim's body. The defendant then cleaned up the area with his codefendants and as he drove away in the victim's car, said "[g]oodbye Norman. I hope we never see you again."

State v. Jeffers, 135 Ariz. 404, 661 P.2d 1105 (1983)
While beating victim, defendant called her "a bitch and a dirty snitch"; with each blow defendant said, "this one is for ... [naming several names]."

State v. Lambright, 138 Ariz. 63, 673 P.2d 1 (1983)
Defendant retained victim's necklace and charm as a souvenir; defendant participated in a celebration of murder where group played song, "We are the Champions."

State v. Summerlin, 138 Ariz. 426, 675 P.2d 686 (1983)
Court held defendant relished murder without further comment.

State v. James, 141 Ariz. 141, 685 P.2d 1293 (1984)
Bragged about role and difficulties encountered in killing victim; no remorse; disposal of body demonstrated callousness, disregard, and brazenness.

State v. Gillies (Gillies II)
, 142 Ariz. 564, 691 P.2d 655 (1984)
Court held that defendant's statement to codefendant, "Wasn't the Superstitions fun," supported heinous or depraved finding; defendant's statement to police, "All that, for killing that bitch?" supported a heinous or depraved finding.

State v. Martinez-Villareal, 145 Ariz. 441, 702 P.2d 670 (1985)
Court found that defendant relished murder by bragging that he killed to show "machismo."

State v. Rossi (Rossi I)
, 146 Ariz. 359, 706 P.2d 371 (1985)
Bragged to friends about killing; gave bullets to another person as souvenir; complained bullets should have made a larger hole in victim.

State v. Mauro (Mauro II)
, 159 Ariz. 186, 766 P.2d 59 (1988)
After disposing of son's body, defendant claimed to have killed devil and put him in a suitcase, but that he was still moving.

State v. Vickers (Vickers II)(Holsinger murder))
, 159 Ariz. 532, 768 P.2d 1177 (1989)
When asked by prison officials if victim was dead, defendant stated, "He ought to be. He's on fire."

State v. Walton, 159 Ariz. 571, 769 P.2d 1017 (1989)
Defendant made remark after murder that he had "never seen a man pee in his pants before"; "callous fascination with the murder"; but buying hamburgers after killing was not "victory party" and did not support relishing finding because defendants had no money until after crime and had not eaten; trial court relied on two different elements in finding relishing; Arizona Supreme Court rejected one of elements, but still upheld finding that defendant relished murder. See "Relishing Finding Reversed."

State v. Fulminante (Fulminante I), 161 Ariz. 237, 778 P.2d 602 (1988)
Defendant told informant that he "hated" victim and called her a "little fucking bitch"; defendant said, "I want to go piss on her grave"; statements made by defendant describing cruelty of crime showed bragging and relishing; statements alleging that defendant forced victim to perform oral sex, and that defendant raped, tortured and beat victim indicated defendant's state of mind.

State v. Comer, 165 Ariz. 413, 799 P.2d 333 (1990)
Shortly after shooting victim, defendant forced his companion to look at victim's body and described himself to her as "a cold and callous killer."

State v. Cook, 170 Ariz. 40, 821 P.2d 731 (1991)
Defendant and accomplice waited until "witching hour" (midnight) to perform first murder; showed to second victim the body of first victim; defendant said "this one is mine" when it came to actual killing of second victim.

State v. Greenway, 170 Ariz. 155, 823 P.2d 22 (1991)
Defendant bragged about killings and gave graphic descriptions of blood gushing out of victim's head; witnesses testified that defendant's attitude was nonchalant.

State v. Rossi (Rossi III), 171 Ariz. 276, 830 P.2d 797 (1992)
see State v. Rossi I.

State v. Runningeagle, 176 Ariz. 59, 859 P.2d 169 (1993)
Defendant and coperpetrator laughed after killing victims; bragged to girlfriend about having been in a "good fight."

State v. West, 176 Ariz. 432, 862 P.2d 192 (1993)
Bragged to people that he "beat the fuck out of some old man"; defendant proudly displayed bruises and cuts on hands from crime.

State v. Maturana, 180 Ariz. 126, 882 P.2d 933 (1994)
No remorse; bragged to another inmate about "how great it was"; defendant stated that he tricked victim into going to desert to make victim pay for being a snitch and a thief.

State v. Jackson, 186 Ariz. 20, 918 P.2d 1038 (1996)
Following murder, defendant sang a song; twice told codefendants he wanted to do it again; seeing a bicyclist defendant said, "Lets jack this guy right here"; passing a female jogger, defendant said, "Lets jack her, too."

State v. Detrich (Detrich II), 188 Ariz. 57, 932 P.2d 1328 (1997)
Defendant stated to codefendant, "It's dead, but it's warm. Do you want a shot at it?"; abhorrent lack of regard for human life.

State v. Doerr, 193 Ariz. 56, 969 P.2d 1168 (1998)
The testimony at trial of the defendant's cellmate reiterating the defendant's description of playing with the victim's blood was sufficient for the trial court and this Court to find that the defendant relished the murder.

State v. Medina, 193 Ariz. 504, 975 P.2d 94 (1999)
The defendant's laughter and joking about driving over speed bumps shortly after the murder in addition to his looking forward to the publicity generated by his crime indicated that he relished it.

State v. (Patrick Wade) Bearup, 2009 WL 2060231 Ariz., P.3d ( 2009)
The evidence showed that Bearup relished his crime when he was overheard laughing while talking about cutting off a person’s finger and was amused when he told his ex-girlfriend about the crime. 

State v. (Dale Shawn) Hausner, 230 Ariz. 60, 280 P.3d 604 (2012)
(F)(6) finding upheld. The Court found that the record contained substantial evidence that Hausner relished the four murders to which this aggravator applied at the time he committed them.  In recorded conversations in his apartment, Hausner joked with Dieteman about killing his most recent victim and other victims and declared, “I love shooting people in the back, it’s so much fun.”  He also kept news stories and bragged about the murders.

State v. (Efren) Medina, 232 Ariz. 391, 306 P.3d 48 (2013)
Defendant’s laughter, descriptive noises (“varoom, bump, bump”) and jokes demonstrated relishing, as did his comment to “watch the news,” which suggested his desire for publicity.

Because both relishing and gratuitous violence were found, a special verdict form was not necessary.

RELISHING FINDING REVERSED

State v. Graham, 135 Ariz. 209, 660 P.2d 460 (1983)
Court noted defendant was extremely immature person; statement attributed to defendant, that victim "squealed like a rabbit," even if true, was likely attributable to immaturity rather than hardened attitude towards death of another.

State v. Robert Smith, 138 Ariz. 79, 673 P.2d 17 (1983)
Court did not explicitly refer to relishing, but stated only evidence of heinousness or depravity was uncorroborated testimony of one witness that defendant requested song "We are the Champions" be played after killing; not found "beyond a reasonable doubt."

State v. Bernard Smith, 146 Ariz. 491, 707 P.2d 289 (1985)
Court held cold and deliberate actions do not support heinous or depraved finding, but only support intent, an element of the crime.

State v. Walton, 159 Ariz. 571, 769 P.2d 1017 (1989)
Trial court relied on two different elements in finding that defendant relished murder; Court rejected one of those elements, but still upheld finding that defendant relished murder; after murder out in desert, defendant and accomplices bought hamburgers and took them home to eat; state argued that this meal was victory party which reflected relishing; Court reasoned that trio had not eaten because they did not have any money before they had committed murder, and meal did not indicate that defendant relished murder.

State v. Gulbrandson, 184 Ariz. 46, 906 P.2d 579 (1995)
Gambling after murder reflects callousness, but without more it did not establish relishing beyond a reasonable doubt; called mother expressing "he had done a terrible thing. He thought he had killed Irene"; contemplated suicide.

State v. Roscoe (Roscoe II), 184 Ariz. 484, 910 P.2d 635 (1996)
To establish relishing, Court requires "defendant say or do something, other than the commission of the crime itself, to show savoring of the murder"; relishing factor is conspicuously absent from recent child sex cases; held factor not established beyond a reasonable doubt.

State v. Schackart, 190 Ariz. 238, 947 P.2d 315 (1997)
Court held not enough evidence to find defendant watched hemorrhaging in victim's eyes during strangulation; victim could have been face down on bed, which is supported by chipped tooth found in bed sheets; no ego gratification; defendant turned himself in shortly after crime; never boasted.

State v. Greene, 192 Ariz. 431, 967 P.2d 106 (1998)
The trial court found relishing based on a statement of the defendant, and several letters written by the defendant. The defendant's statement was that he had "clubbed a faggot." This language is insufficient to support a relishing finding. Similarly, the defendant's display of the victim's driver's license did not indicate his enjoyment of the crime or that the license was a souvenir. The defendant merely showed the license to the witness to counter the witness' disbelief that the defendant had actually killed someone. Post-murder behavior may be relevant to show the defendant's state of mind at the time of the murder. The defendant wrote a letter to Joseph Fausto approximately one month after his arrest. In this letter, the defendant wrote that he "was the wrong white boy to be picked up by a faggot who ended up with his fuckin' skull caved in." The Court here found that while this showed a tremendous lack of remorse and constituted bragging, it did not show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant enjoyed the killing or what his state of mind was at the time of the murder. In another letter written two weeks after his conviction, the defendant wrote "convicted murderer" and "death row alley" below his signature. Again, while this demonstrates extraordinary callousness and lack of remorse, it also does not prove that he relished the killing at the time of the murder.

State v. Ring (I), 200 Ariz. 1139, 25 P.3d 717 (2001)
Uncorroborated testimony from an accomplice was that the defendant said in an "offhand" manner, "you guys are forgetting something … you’re forgetting to congratulate me on my shot." The Court said the comments showed a calculated plan to kill and that Ring had satisfaction over the success of his plan and extreme callousness or lack of remorse after the murder.  However, this did not support a finding that Ring actually relished the act of murdering the victim.

State v. (Michael Joe) Murdaugh, 209 Ariz. 19, 97 P.3d 844 (2004) (Ring)
Evidence showed that Murdaugh’s girlfriend returned home and informed Murdaugh that the victim had propositioned her at a gas station.  Murdaugh decided to teach him a “lesson” by inviting him to “party” and then breaking his jaw.  After the victim had been at his house for approximately 15 minutes, Murdaugh and an accomplice burst in with guns, yelled at him, then robbed him.  Later, he ordered the victim into a car trunk and went off to do drugs with his friends.  The following morning, Murdaugh bludgeoned him to death with a jack-hammer spike, then disposed of the victim’s body, possessions and van.  While the trial court had concluded that Murdaugh had “reveled in the idea of meting out his own justice and enjoyed the spectacle it created in front of his friends,” the Supreme Court found that there was no evidence that Murdaugh did or said anything, beyond the commission of the crime itself, manifesting that he “savored the murder.”  For this reason, the court could not conclude that no reasonable jury would have failed to find this factor beyond a reasonable doubt.

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