On Wednesday March 28, 2018 PLEA President Ken Crane and PLEA Treasurer Darrell Kriplean attended a clemency hearing that had been scheduled for the killer of murdered Phoenix Police Officer Robert T. Fike. Also in attendance were members of Officer Fike’s family, representatives from police management, detectives and representatives from the county attorneys office.
On January 8, 1986, Officer Fike contacted two occupants of a suspicious vehicle behind the Circle K store at 11th Street and Indian School Rd. Unknown to Officer Fike at the time was that one of the occupants, 21 year old Matthew Milburn had previously committed an armed robbery and was in the process of doing drugs at the time Officer Fike rolled up to investigate.
When Officer Fike attempted a pat down of Milburn to check for weapons, a physical struggle ensued. Officer Fike was ultimately disarmed and Milburn shot and killed him. There were no witnesses to the crime and it occurred long before the widespread use of CCTV cameras. Two citizens happened upon Officer Fike’s police cruiser and his lifeless body on the ground next to it. They used his police radio to call for help. It would take authorities seven more weeks to develop enough information that would ultimately lead to the arrest of Milburn. Milburn initially denied the crime and blamed his (still to this day) unnamed co-conspirator. Milburn later admitted he was the one responsible for Officer Fike’s death. When brought to trial he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Officer Fike.
Officer Fike, at the time of his death, was a decorated 10 year veteran of the police force. He was 41 years old and was survived by his spouse and two young sons.
The Clemency Board unanimously voted to deny clemency for Milburn. He will be eligible to petition the board again in one year.
PLEA will endeavor to always be a voice at these hearings for those who can no longer speak for themselves.