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Steve Alan BOGGS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Revenge - Robbery - White supremacist
Number of victims: 3
Date of murder: May 19, 2002
Date of arrest: June 5, 2002
Date of birth: December 1, 1978
Victims profile: Kenneth Brown, 27; Beatriz Alvarado, 31, and Fausto Jimenez, 30 (fast-food workers)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on February 21, 2006

Arizona Supreme Court

opinion CR-05-0174-AP


Steve Boggs and Christopher Hargrave formed a white supremacist organization called the Imperial Royal Guard.

Hargrave met and began dating Gayle Driver, the daughter of the owners of a pawnshop. In April, 2002, Hargrave began working at a Jack-In-The-Box in the Mesa/Chandler area.

On May 15, Hargrave was fired from the Jack-In-The-Box for stealing. Hargrave had been living in a trailer on the Driver’s property, and he was asked to leave when he was fired from his job.

On May 19, 2002, Boggs and Hargrave went to rob the Jack-In-The-Box restaurant. Hargrave dressed in his work uniform and gained entrance to the restaurant under the guise that he had been called back to work.

Once inside, Hargrave distracted two employees while Boggs went through the back door. Boggs and Hargrave then took the three employees into the cooler and shot them several times in the back.

After stealing money from the registers and from each victim, Boggs and Hargrave left the store and went to a nearby bank to withdraw money using one of the victim’s stolen credit cards.

One of the victims managed to crawl to a nearby phone and call police, as well as alert a customer, who also phoned the police.

Two days after the murder, Boggs traded the murder weapon for another gun at the Driver’s pawn shop. The Drivers contacted the police, and Boggs was subsequently arrested when police confirmed the gun was the murder weapon from the restaurant.


Presiding Judge: Hon. Roland Steinle III
Prosecutor: Vince Imbordino
Defense Counsel: Gerald Gavin, Jason Leonard & Rena Glitsos
Start of Trial:  January 17, 2006
Verdict: February 9, 2006
Sentencing: February 21, 2006

Aggravating Circumstances

Pecuniary gain

Multiple homicides

Especially heinous, cruel or depraved


[Direct Appeal pending before the Arizona Supreme Court]


State of Arizona v. Steve Alan Boggs



On May 19, 2002, Alvarado, Brown, and Jimenez were working at the Jack in the Box on Main and Lindsay in Mesa, Arizona. At the 24-hour store, the employees locked the doors after ten o’clock so that only the drive through window was open. Between 11:15 and 11:30, all three employees were shot inside the Jack in the Box freezer. Brown died in the freezer almost immediately. Alvarado and Jimenez escaped from the freezer—Jimenez dialed 911 on the telephone shortly before dying, while Alvarado lived long enough to make her way to the store’s back door.

Between 11:30 and 11:45 p.m., Luis Vargas pulled up to the Jack in the Box drive through window and heard Alvarado moaning. When Vargas approached her, she spoke with him briefly. Police Officer Beutal arrived at the Jack in the Box and also communicated with Alvarado, who stated that she was injured and “made reference to two” people still in the store. From outside the store Beutal could see Jimenez lying on the ground. Upon entering the store, the police found Jimenez and Brown deceased.

The night and morning following the murders, police officers documented the crime scene. The police found shell casings, as well as bullet projectiles and fragments inside the freezer, leading to the conclusion that all three victims were shot in the freezer. Cash registers appeared as though someone had pried them open, though less than $300 was taken from the store, with no money missing from the safe.

Steve Boggs’ friend and former co-defendant, Christopher Hargrave, worked at Jack in the Box from April to May of 2002. Hargrave was fired after Jimenez, an assistant manager in training, reported Hargrave for twice having a short register.

On May 21, 2002, Boggs pawned a Taurus handgun at a shop owned by the Drivers. Mr. Driver cleaned the gun and placed it in his safe, finding the transaction suspicious. Mrs. Driver later called the police and informed the sheriff of the Taurus that Boggs pawned a few days earlier. On June 3, Boggs called the pawn shop and unsuccessfully requested to buy back the Taurus, which the police later retrieved from the Drivers.

Mesa Police took Boggs to the station on June 5, 2002 and interviewed him, leading to the apprehension of Christopher Hargrave. During the June 5 interview, Detective Vogel interrogated Boggs about the Jack in the Box murders for approximately three hours. Boggs waived his Miranda rights and agreed to voluntarily answer questions. Through the course of the interview, Boggs told several versions of what happened on the day of, and the days following, the murders.

The next day, two detectives took Boggs to secure physical evidence and transport him to his initial appearance. Boggs asked both detectives how to go about changing the story he told Vogel the previous day. At the initial appearance Boggs was appointed counsel. Afterwards, Boggs again asked one of the detectives to whom he needed to speak to change his story. The detectives arranged to bring Boggs to the interrogation room for further questioning.

During the June 6 interview, Boggs provided Detective Vogel with several varying explanations of how the murders occurred. At one point in the interview, after Vogel asked about Boggs’ son, Boggs told Vogel three times to leave him alone. Vogel did not leave the interrogation room, but asked Boggs if he wanted Vogel to leave for a few minutes. In response, Boggs began talking about how they were going to kill an innocent man and mentioned suicide.

Boggs submitted a pre-trial request to proceed pro per, which the superior court granted. While pro per, Boggs made several complaints to the trial judge regarding the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s (MSCO) interference with his self-representation. Specifically, Boggs claimed that MSCO seized legal documents from his cell and refused to provide him with discovery items sent to the jail by his advisory counsel. Meanwhile, Vogel and a state prosecutor received threatening letters allegedly from Boggs. In response, the MSCO searched Boggs’ cell and confiscated several items. Non-relevant or privileged items were returned to Boggs. Several days later, but before the start of the guilt proceeding, Boggs relinquished his right to proceed pro per.

At trial, the State called Vargas to testify to Alvarado’s statements. The court did not redact any of Vogel’s statements from the tapes. The police criminalist also testified that the casings found at the scene, bullet fragments from the scene, and bullet fragments removed from the bodies all matched the Taurus.

The DNA expert testified that DNA from the Taurus matched Hargrave at 14 locations but did not match Boggs, though the DNA expert could not eliminate Boggs as a source. The jury found Boggs guilty of three counts of first degree murder. During the testimony of Detective Vogel, the prosecution’s chief witness, the prosecution played videotapes of the June 5 and 6 interrogations for the jury.

At the aggravation phase, the jury found three aggravating factors for each murder: the expectation of pecuniary gain; especially heinous, cruel, or deprived manner; and, multiple homicides during commission of the offense. After the jury returned its verdict, Boggs moved to represent himself in the penalty phase. The judge denied his motion, reasoning that it was not a “wise move” and that Boggs can’t “be changing horses in the mid-stream.”

At the penalty phase, the defense presented mitigation evidence concerning Boggs’ troubled childhood and mental health evidence demonstrating Boggs’ history of hearing voices, suicidal tendencies and grand delusions. Boggs’ expert witnesses diagnosed Boggs as suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and bipolar disorder.

At trial, the State rebutted Boggs’ mitigating evidence by presenting evidence of the threatening letters sent to Detective Vogel and the state prosecutor. Boggs also argues on appeal that his cooperation with the police, leading to the apprehension of Hargrave is a substantial mitigating factor. The jury found that the mitigating evidence was not sufficiently substantial to call for leniency and the judge sentenced Boggs to death.


Guilty in triple murder

Killings at Mesa fast-food restaurant

By Jim Walsh - The Arizona Republic

May. 4, 2005

It was a botched robbery with a low take and a high cost, not only for three murdered fast-food workers, but also for at least one gunman.

Steve Boggs, one of two suspected killers in the murders, moved a step closer to a potential death sentence Tuesday when jurors found him guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and 15 other crimes.

The Maricopa County Superior Court jury of 11 women and one man deliberated for about a day in reaching their verdicts in the May 19, 2002 killings at a Mesa Jack In The Box at Lindsay Road and Main Street.

The triple murder shook Mesa residents, and police said they could not recall another slaying with so many victims.

A prosecutor said the robbers' take was about $280, not the $14,000 they expected.

More than a dozen relatives of victim Kenneth Brown, 27, a Navajo and an only child, wept and hugged one another after the verdict was announced in Judge John Foreman's court late Tuesday.

If anything, the Brown family's pain was heightened by the motives as outlined by the prosecutor: money and racism. Brown had been planning to move back to Shiprock, N.M., on the Navajo Reservation within days to better support his three children.

The two other victims, Beatriz Alvarado, 31, and Fausto Jimenez, 30, were Hispanic.

Boggs and co-defendant Christopher Hargrave, 24, slated to appear in court in June, founded a militia, the Royal Imperial Guard, and pledged allegiance to a racist creed, prosecutor Robert Shutts said.

Hargrave worked at the restaurant until four days before the murder and said in a telephone interview last month that he was hoping to collect his final check that night.

But defense attorney Herman Alcantar Jr. argued that Hargrave had more of a motive to kill than Boggs. He felt he had been unjustly fired over a dispute about $45 missing from a cash register.

Alcantar said in closing arguments that Hargrave told Boggs, "I'm going to go in there and show them who's boss."

In a letter he wrote to Mesa police Detective Don Vogel, Boggs said there was a motive for the attack, which occurred between 11:30 p.m. and midnight. All three victims were shot in the back of the head.

"It was to rid the world of a few needless illegals. I don't feel sorry."

Shutt quoted from the letter in his closing statements Monday when he also said, "This would be a military mission" with a code name. "Put Jack back in the box."

Boggs told Vogel that he didn't like Hispanics or Blacks and wanted to put Hispanics in a box and ship them back to Mexico, Shutts said.

Earlier, Boggs confessed to Vogel that he shot Brown at least once in the back for money, Shutts said.

"Simple motive, lives for money," he said. "These people were shot and killed to eliminate witnesses. They were taken into that freezer and executed, silenced forever."

One body was found in the freezer, a second near the telephone and the third, Alvarado, was found just outside the back door. She spoke a few words to a witness and died later at a hospital.

The next question jurors must settle is whether there are "aggravating factors," legal reasons that make the slayings among the worst, qualifying Boggs for a potential death sentence.

If jurors find at least one aggravating factor, the final phase would be deciding whether he should be executed.

The two court-appointed attorneys seeking to save Boggs' life, Alcantar and Nate Carr, are both minorities. Alcantar is Hispanic, Carr is Black.

In closing arguments, Alcantar argued no physical evidence links Boggs to the slayings, Hargrave had a better motive, and Vogel coerced Boggs' confession.

But in the upcoming phases, his strategy is expected to focus on Boggs' extensive history mental illness.

Boggs was hospitalized several times in behavioral health facilities and has a history of suffering from delusions, according to court records.

He has been diagnosed as schizophrenic and manic-depressive.

Alcantar could cite Boggs' mental health as a "mitigating factor," or a reason to spare his execution.

Police videotapes showed Vogel holding Boggs, with Vogel's hands on Boggs' shoulders, during a three-hour interview on June 5, 2002, the day Boggs was arrested.

When Vogel left the room, the tape caught Boggs putting his hands to his face.

"Chris, what did you get me into?" Boggs asked. "Oh, my God."

But Shutts said Boggs worked as a security guard, took a class in criminal interrogation and "was playing to the camera."


Steve Alan Boggs



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