Crime Of Passion Or Self Defense?

Dangerous triangle among roommates.

Close-up Of Judge Holding Document With Gavel At Desk

We’ve been posting a lot of “murder or self-defense” stories lately. It’s food for thought and also helps us remember that there are times when it is not in our own best interests to use our gun. Even if we’re armed and trained, we can still be “wrong” to use it. (I use quote marks to indicate that innocent until proven guilty does apply, and sometimes “right” and “wrong” are not immediately clear.)

Here’s another story to ponder…

Thomas Francis Burke, 33, and a pharmacist from San Diego, California, is charged with murder in the June 22, 2016, death of 35-year-old Jess Robles. Robles was the boyfriend of his female roommate, Larae Clark. Prosecutors say that Burke killed Robles in a fit of jealousy over romantic feelings he had for Clark. Burke wrote on his computer that he couldn’t take her going out with other people and he told Clark that he would always be attracted to her.

Robles and Clark had gone out the night Robles was killed. Robles read some of Burke’s text messages to Clark and responded, “Sounds like you have a lot to say behind my back. Hope you can back it up!” Are those threatening words? That’s what Burke’s defense is claiming. They were sending each other angry text messages after insults. Burke had apparently called Robles a douche bag.

Clark and Robles returned to Clark’s home about 11pm. Robles waited outside in a Lyft car. When she went inside, she got into an argument with Burke. Robles, who was apparently waiting for her, went inside to check on her after he realized she was taking longer than he expected her to. He knocked on the home door. Burke opened the door and shot Robles twice.

Burke then ran off and called another roommate, admitting the shooting and saying that he was probably going to jail. Burke then turned himself in the next day.

Here’s the defense story…Robles was drunk at the house. Burke thought Robles was “obnoxious” and “creepy” and was “freaked out” by the situation and relationship between Clark and Robles. When Robles knocked on the door, Burke felt threatened and thought Robles was “coming in to do him some damage.”

Hmmm…..Burke shot him at close range in the doorway because he felt “trapped.” Burke is now facing 50 years to life if convicted of murder. What do you, the jury, say?