Powell feels sympathy for the homeless. In fact, she helped Cain's adoptive family sue Garfield after the shooting.

Yet the transients can be scary, she admits. She keeps a can of mace in her office. She's arrived at work to find people sleeping on the office's porch. In the past, homeless men have walked into her office and sat down to escape the scorching sun. Before she met Cain's family, the antique-store shooting and the beating death of a local elderly man in the area caused Powell to begin habitually locking the front door when she's inside.

Next door to the Historic District Antique Mall, in the same building, is the campaign headquarters of Tom Horne, the state schools superintendent who's running for Arizona attorney general. On the inside of the door is a handwritten sign, warning all workers to keep the door locked. Chuck Johnson, one of Horne's volunteers, says he adheres to the advice — he's seen homeless people walk in unexpectedly, which can be disconcerting when he's there alone.

Robert Cain, or Bobby, as his family called him, was one of many transients who hung out in the area, but he was hardly typical.

Cain's family says he was homeless by choice, though apparently his mental state didn't give him much choice. His adoptive parents and sisters describe Bobby Cain as a tortured soul who rejected a conventional life for the "freedom" of homelessness. In the Cains' modest Surprise home, the family displays pictures of Cain's life both before and after his mental illness set in.

The 1970s photos portray a strapping young man standing next to his blond sweetheart, and with his hand on the cowling of a single-engine airplane he used to fly. In pictures from a brief family gathering in the early 2000s, Cain looks tired and old for his age, sporting his white beard and some heft around his middle.

A.J. Cain, his adoptive dad, says his son's original name was Robert Louis Fuller Jr. He was born to a sailor father and a mentally ill, sometimes-homeless prostitute mother in California. The boy and his older sister, Barbara, found themselves in a Phoenix foster home in the mid-1960s, the elder Cain says.

The two siblings — Bobby was 6 or 7, and Barbara about 13 — became friends with the Cain girls, who lived on the same block. A.J. Cain and his wife, Mae, took in Bobby and Barbara as foster children. They would later formally adopt the boy, renaming him Robert Lee Cain.

Bobby Cain was smart and athletic — a "great kid," says his father, a retired dairy worker and beef-company manager.

"He never ever said one word disrespectful to me," A.J. Cain says.

The Cain sisters loved having a brother — and he looked out for them. Bobby grew to be a stocky boy and played football at Agua Fria High School in Avondale.

On their way to school, Bobby once let it be known that his sister often sat next to him on the school bus. "None of the boys would sit by me on the bus," adoptive sister Judy Anderson recalls.

Yet Cain wasn't really that big.

Garfield, in retrospect, imagines Bobby Cain towering over him, but court records show Cain stood an average 5-foot-10 — only an inch taller than Garfield. Search warrants list Garfield's weight as 180 pounds — the same weight listed for Cain in Phoenix Municipal Court records. According to his parents, Cain weighed 180 pounds on the day he died, though his weight tended to fluctuate.

Cain later joined the Air Force and moved to Texas. After he got out of the service, he worked for a few years at the Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport in Temple as an operations specialist — manning the radios, performing firefighting duties, and refueling planes, says an airport official who knew of him.

Cain married, helped build his own home, and took up flying as a hobby.

He was never violent, family members say, and was never known to use drugs or alcohol. But in the mid-1980s, Cain's mind began to unravel. He began hearing voices and acting strangely. He couldn't get along with his wife. One day, he abruptly left home with $5,000 in cash in his pocket. He left "his new Ford Mustang in the driveway," A.J. Cain says.

It was a few years before anyone heard from him. By then, he was a homeless man on the streets of Phoenix.

After that, his family would see him only occasionally. He was ultimately diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic and lived for a time at the Arizona State Hospital. He believed in a hassle-free existence and wouldn't take money from family members or anyone else, A.J. Cain says. Bobby Cain took advantage of free meals at homeless shelters but otherwise tried to find odd jobs to support himself.

"If you tried to give him a dollar on the street, he wouldn't take it," his adoptive father says. "If you insisted, you'd just make him angry."

One year, when he was taking medication for his paranoia regularly, Cain saved money and bought his mother a diamond bracelet for Christmas.

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8 comments
Alittletruthphoenix
Alittletruthphoenix

Attorney Sara J Powell is nothing more than a scum bag personal injury lawyer - check her website out - she proudly displays her membership in the "Million Dollar Fourm" at the bottom of the page - a group of attorney whom proudly proclaim their winning awards in excess of 1 million dollars for clients -

treasurehunter
treasurehunter

I go in this antique mall all the time. I HAD NO IDEA this even happened.

1shot1kill
1shot1kill

Interesting article.

The Garfield - Cain shooting has limited similarities to the Fish case.They both sound like "suicide by self-defense" since the deceased were both mentally / emotionally unstable.

For that matter, Garfield sounds like he doesn't have a full magazine either, e.g. Grand Canyon trip.

The background of provocation between Garfield and Cain certainly adds to the complexity. Provocation pretty much nullifies self-defense according to current law.

As Ray Stern probably is aware, there are two bills in the legislature right now to make concealed carry legal without the training, education and permit. House Bill 2347 and Senate Bill 1108This is a scary thought although education would probably have made little difference with Garfield since it does seem premeditated (and the article slants it this way).

What is unnerving about both killings is that while the shooters will probably end up walking the streets again, both are financially devastated defending themselves in the legal system. Putting the burden of proof on a shooter for self defense doesn't seem compatible with innocent til proven guilty.

The article is a severe indictment of both the public mental health system and the emergency 911 line. Cain was a danger to himself from people like Garfield and should have been in treatment. Guns laws are in place because even though the cops would rather the public not take the law "into their own hands", they acknowledge they can't be everywhere at once.

Publius Maximus
Publius Maximus

Don't worry, Russell Pearce will get you a special bill that allows Arizonans to shoot transients retroactively, so it will apply to Garfield. Joe Arpaio is probably preparing a medal for him.

Teo Buneo
Teo Buneo

From what the other tenants at the store have to say about Garfield and his anger problem and his own words demonstrate that he's a lily livered wimp who planned carefully for his murder of Mr. Cain. The man should get the full 21 years, Those jurors should have convicted on the 2nd degree charge. If you plan a murder it's first degree murder! "Tough Guy" Tom Horne should be shown the door by voters if he's staking his career on support of this murderous wimp. I've worked with little chicken shits with big chips on their shoulders and Garfield fits that description perfectly. I wonder how long it'll be before Mr.Fish murders another stranger that scares him?

mahkai
mahkai

Aggravated assault is more serious than simple assault. Cain would have had to have had a weapon in his possession in order for this to be the case. From this article, it is apparent that he did not.

Interesting article. Thank you.

Peoriaman
Peoriaman

and how about the man, in his own home, waving a bat at police in the City of Peoria was shot dead with two bullets? Wife calls police, police enter home, and kills the man. Great, time we all carry guns. I wouldn't be surprised this guy goes down, but the the murdering police get off scott free.

 
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