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MCAO News Releases

Posted on: July 1, 2016

Zakary Howard Sentenced to 18 Years for His Role in the Murder of a Friend

PHOENIX— Zakary Howard (D.O.B. 9/23/1993) was sentenced today to 18 years in the Department of Corrections for his role in the April 2015 shooting death of a friend. Howard’s co-defendant and the convicted shooter, Richard Burns, was sentenced to 25 years on June 15, 2016.

“Though the defendant was found not to be the shooter, his participation in the crime and unwillingness to offer any type of aid to the victim earned him this sentence,” said County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “With this greedy, callous act, three young lives were destroyed.”

On April 29, 2015, the defendant, Howard, and co-defendant, Burns, lured the victim behind Inca Elementary School in Buckeye, reportedly with the promise of selling him prescription painkillers, though they had discussed an intent to rob him. The co-defendant took out a rifle and shot the victim several times. According to the defendant, Burns became angry and kicked the victim who was still alive. They stole the victim’s wallet, phone and car.

The two drove away but returned 25 minutes later and the defendant observed the victim still breathing. The defendant suggested finishing him off with a rock, but both decided they didn’t have the nerve to do it, and decided to leave the victim to die. They drove the car around the Valley for the rest of the evening and abandoned it in a Buckeye neighborhood.

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