Judge admonished for telling man found guilty of murdering little girl that he should ‘die in a locked closet’

AUSTIN – A Texas judge has been publicly admonished for telling a man found guilty of the murder of a 4-year old girl that he “should die in a locked closet.”

Robert Burns III is the Chief Justice for the Dallas Court of Appeals.

Back when he was a judge in 2018, Burns presided over a criminal case against Charles Wayne Phifer, who was charged with causing the death of the little girl through torture and beating two years earlier.


Records show that on Oct. 15, 2018, the jury found Phifer guilty of capital murder.

Burns then made the following comments: “Mr. Phifer … what you did was unfathomable, inhuman, and savage. You… did monstrous things to that little girl. Hanging a little girl in a closet is savage. You should die in a locked closet…

“Life in prison doesn’t seem like enough for you, but nonetheless, that’s the punishment you’re getting.”

On Aug. 19, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct determined Burns should be publically admonished for his “undignified and discourteous comment.”


Categories: Law

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