Phoenix Law Enforcement Association

Officer Fike’s Killer Denied Clemency

Phoenix Police Officer Robert T. Fike was shot and killed by Matthew Milburn on January 8, 1986 shortly after Officer Fike contacted him while he was inside a vehicle parked behind the Circle K Store located at 1111 East Indian School Road.

Milburn, who had already served time in the Arizona Department of Corrections for burglary, had committed an armed robbery earlier and was ingesting cocaine when Officer Fike contacted him.  While Officer Fike was patting Milburn down, a struggle ensued and Officer Fike was disarmed before being shot and killed.   Two citizens came upon Officer Fike’s patrol car and found his lifeless body on the ground next to it, then used the police radio to call for help.   Milburn, who fled the scene, was eventually located and taken into custody seven weeks later after investigators developed enough information to tie him to the murder.  While Milburn initially denied his involvement and blamed an unnamed and still unknown co-conspirator, he later admitted he was responsible for Officer Fike’s death.  Milburn was sentenced to life in prison and began serving his term on July 3, 1986.

At the time of his death, Officer Fike was a 10 year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department and had been back on the streets in Patrol for just two weeks after choosing to leave an undercover assignment for a schedule which would allow him to spend more time with his wife and two sons.

On March 13, 2019, PLEA Secretary Frank Marino, Assistant Chief John Collins, Officer Fike’s sister and her husband, and a representative from the County Attorney’s Office, attended a clemency hearing for Milburn, and they all spoke on behalf of Officer Fike, his family, Phoenix Police Officers and all police officers.  The Clemency Board unanimously voted to deny parole for Milburn, who will be eligible to petition the board again in a year, which is exactly what happened almost one year ago at his last clemency hearing.

PLEA will always strive to attend these hearings to be a voice and advocate for our officers who can no longer speak for themselves and their family members who are forced to relive and experience the gut-wrenching memories of the event.